This post is part of our 10 Leadership Principles series. You can find more information on the series and catch up on previous posts here.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home or world; in fact, I was tricked into my first church event by my Grandparents, who were promising to take me for ice cream. However, I did become a Christian when I was fourteen years old and became fascinated with the idea that God was all-knowing, all-powerful and all-present. As I entered Bible College, I discovered three theological words for what I found fascinating as a teenager.
- Omniscient – “possessed of universal or complete knowledge.”
- Omnipotent – “one who has unlimited power or authority.”
- Omnipresent – “present in all places at all time.s”
This seems both incredible and maybe a bit scary to my teenage brain. It was amazing that God knew everything, had all power and was everywhere all the time. But it was also frightening because maybe I didn’t want God to see everything I was doing as a teenager or even an adult. The reality is, I have taken great comfort knowing that God is always with me in all places and with all things over the years. I often say the “God of the universe who put the stars in place is with you right now and cares about how your days went.”
The question is, do we really believe this to be true? Let me explain.
Most Christians would accept and know the Omin’s to be a truth in their life. It’s why we pray for God to heal us when we are sick or pray for the situation or person on the other side of the world. We believe that God is active and present in our lives. However, the issue is that this belief seems to be limited our the personal world. When it comes to work or the areas in which we provide leadership, God seems less powerful and more contained.
We seem to put God in a box and say something like, “the God who put the stars in place is with you right now and cares about your day… so why don’t you ask him for the bare minimum of support as you attempt to carry the load on your shoulders. Maybe He can’t do it or seems too busy to care”. Now I’m not 100% sure why we do this but speaking from my personal experience, it seems to focus on three statements.
I’m afraid to ask for help: To ask anyone for help is to admit that we don’t know all the answers and cannot do it ourselves. This fear can be crippling in leadership because it limits our ability to lead. We cannot know everything, and there is no way you can know all the angles or see every outcome. Our leadership is limited because it constrains the potential to “me.” What I know and what I can do. But the power in leadership comes from the collective “we.” Together, we can see all the angles and prepare for every outcome. Together, we can leverage our God-given gifts, talents and abilities to do the impossible. To make it about “me” is to put God in a box.
I’m worried I’ll look weak: Have you ever said words that sound a bit like this, “as the leader, I need to look strong” or “I’ll carry the team through this” or “weakness is for losers”… maybe not the last one but I bet someone reading this has said some combination of those words. The implication in our world is that “leadership = strength,” but Jesus said the opposite to be true. See, if we as the leaders are the source of strength, it’s really easy to fall into a “saviour complex.” By that, I mean that you as a leader have the authority and power to save the situation, company, role, event, night, person etc. However, Jesus wants us to know and understand that He is our source and strength. That He is our provider in all situations and in our weakness, we lean into Him, and He makes us strong. In leadership, “weakness” is not a liability; it’s a strength, but only when we acknowledge that weakness and press into Jesus will we be able to lead well.
I’m scared that I might fail: The fear of failure is a powerful driver of our actions. It can control us and even paralyze us from seeing our full potential in Jesus. To discover that God is not contained in a box, we must first travel to what we think is the end and choose to step over to see what’s on the other side. But fear keeps us from taking that leap because what if we are wrong? What if nothing is there? What if we fail? These are valid questions, but one more question has to be asked. What if there is more? More opportunity, more students, more ministry, more miracles, more prayer or just more of Jesus to discover. In the end, leadership is about trust. Will you trust that if you push to the edge and fail or fall, Jesus will be there to pick you up, dust you off and ask you to try again
Each of these three statements can indeed find its solutions when paired with one of the Omni’s.
- I’m afraid to ask for help = God is knows everything you need (Omniscient)
- I’m worried I’ll look weak = God has the strength (Omnipotent) to handle or carry you through any situation
- I’m scared that I might fail = God is in all things in all places (Omnipresent), so you never have to worry about being alone.
So if God does not live in a box, because a box cannot contain the all-powerful, all-knowing and all-present God, this reality should radically transform our everyday leadership because it means that we are tapped into “the God of the universe who put the stars in place.” In Jesus, we are never alone, no matter our situation, moment, crisis, or relationship. You have access to 100% of God 100% of the time. That means you walk into every situation in life not with limited potential but with God at your side.
I want you to reflect on the following questions and their impact on your life and leadership?
- Do you believe that God is Omniscient? Why or why not?
- Do you believe that God is Omnipotent? Why or why not?
- Do you believe that God is Omnipresent? Why or why not?
Over the next few days, I want you to pray about where in your life (work, home, ministry, etc.) you’re placing God in a box. Why do you think you do this? Which of the Omni’s could help you see this situation differently? After a few days, get together with someone you know and trust and share what you have discovered.