How Far You Are Willing to Go to Change?

"I don't know if you ... ever had a load of hay fall on you, but when they told me yesterday what happened, I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me. Don't expect too much of me. —Harry Truman, After Replacing Franklin Roosevelt as President of the United States

With leadership comes pressure and challenges. There are forces at work that you cannot prepare for or anticipate, and they change you into something different than you would have been otherwise. New leaders in particular don't often think that leadership will change them in radical ways that could be painful. They miss the warning to leaders that appears in James' epistle: "Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly."[1] James was not referring just to clergy here. A "teacher in the church" is anyone who is called to influence others. Paul told Timothy that teaching was a primary responsibility.[2]

Do you want to become a disciple-making leader but lack adequate training? Many leaders—yes, even pastors—need training in discipleship. That's what we offer. Join a cohort (a year-long leadership development community) and become a disciple-making leader. Learn more and apply here.

All leaders are required to teach and teachers are all required to lead. When I think of Christian leadership, I think of teaching, formal and informal. Teachers are powerful leaders in our culture, not only the sanctioned teachers in churches, synagogues, temples, universities, and schools, but also newscasters, journalists, and writers of fiction and nonfiction. They all play a part. Jesus spoke about the power of teaching. A little child had come to him, and he talked about the responsibility to that child:

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trust in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea."[3]

We as leaders must be willing to change in order to learn how to live for others. As I tell my students, If you want to become something you have never been before, you will need to do things you have never done before. Once again, Jesus is our model in this. When God became a person, he took the definitive action of emptying himself of rights and privileges in order to serve and live for others.


  1. James 3:1.
  2. See 2 Timothy 2:2.
  3. Matthew 18:2-6.

Written by Bill Hull

Taken from The Christian Leader by Bill Hull. Copyright © 2016 by Robert W. Hull. Used by permission of Zondervan.

Image Credit: The Library of Congress,; Author, Edmonston Studio; Public Domain.