Peter, the Learner
Let me start off this week with a question: Why is it important to discipline (not punish) children? I think we’d agree that it’s for them to learn what’s right and wrong and what’s safe and dangerous. Well, it’s the same with leaders. Peter’s life shows us that he was a true disciple: he was a learner.
Peter was given the privilege to learn from the greatest teacher of all time, Jesus Christ. In essence, he was a ‘learning leader’. I submit that we should also be ‘learning leaders’ as we study Jesus’ Leadership Development Plan with Peter and ultimately with us. As we walk through Peter’s life we observe that he was in a constant state of growth. His learning was intimate as he watched and experienced the Savior’s love and the way He helped people. Isn’t that our goal as well? The apostle Paul thought so for he wrote,
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT
Those ‘good things’ include the people you lead whether it be at home, at work, or at church; you are a leader. Are you born a leader or do you learn to be a leader? Either way, leadership needs to be developed and fine-tuned. Yes, you make mistakes and sometimes have poor judgment, however, as you take a step forward or a step back you’re learning. The good news is that the Holy Spirit is your divine Guide and Teacher; He’ll help you, if you ask Him.
In the Christian life you find out early that you can’t do it alone. You need help. Spending time with God is indispensable to your walk with Christ. He gives direction, guidance, encouragement, and sometimes correction but He’ll also help you develop your strategy and give you finesse in dealing with others. When you spend time with God you can expect His help. Leadership means that someone is following you, be it a toddler, teenager, adult children, co-workers, or other Christians and to lead them in the right direction you need God.
Peter learned the hard way several times; Jesus even had to rebuke him publicly. His pride and self-centeredness led him to think he was someone that he was not. Pride gets in the way of leaders more than anything. You don’t know it all and you don’t always have the best ideas; get over yourself! Humility is often learned but it doesn’t have to be the hard way.
Be intentional in your quest at leading by watching other leaders. Read their books, listen to their messages, and most importantly, watch and learn from the Lord, especially the way He dealt with Peter.
My two favorite leadership books are Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels and The Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley. Take advantage of the wisdom of these two pastors but never forget the way Jesus taught Peter.