the shape of leadership

The Eyes of a Leader

Seeing the potential in others

Kent Ingle on September 11, 2020

We often talk about honing our skills, fine-tuning our vision, and developing our leadership. With all this focus on ourselves as leaders, we may fail to recognize the importance of seeing, calling out, and developing the best in those around us.

Jesus lived and led in a way that always saw potential in others, and He was eager to bring out the best in them.

Similarly, God has given church leaders a responsibility to equip His people for works of service (Ephesians 4:12). That means seeing the possibilities others have to grow and develop as Christ followers and to lead in ministry.

Of all the disciples, Peter may provide the best example of Jesus seeing in others what they cannot see in themselves.

Though Peter became a leader in the Early Church, he didn’t always look like leadership material. Peter struggled with doubt, insecurity, apprehension and a lack of confidence. Yet Jesus saw something in him.

As we grow in our leadership, we must not forget to invest in the growth of others. Many around you are eager for learning opportunities. They need someone to believe in them and encourage them toward growth.

Here are four ways to follow the example of Jesus in leading others:

1. Look for their potential. Regardless of what others may have thought of Peter, Christ saw his potential for great faith.

To see the best in those around you, you must be looking for it.

To see the best in those around you, you must be looking for it. There are people all around you with untapped, unrecognized potential. They are just waiting for someone to see the possibilities they can’t see.

Perhaps they grew up with a poor self-image, suffered failures in the past, or have never been told God has a purpose and plan for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11). We can ask the Holy Spirit to give us eyes to see their God-given potential.

2. Call them out. As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Peter and called him to join His ministry (Matthew 4:18-19). Jesus didn’t wait for Peter to approach Him about an opportunity.

We can tend to wait for people to ask us for help rather than reaching out to them. Jesus saw potential in Peter, and He didn’t hesitate. Jesus immediately called Peter to the occasion.

3. Look beyond their faults. Most of us remember Peter for his fear, his doubts, and his denial of Christ (Matthew 14:27-31; Luke 22:54-62). Nevertheless, Jesus saw past Peter’s shortcomings and didn’t give up on him.

Throughout the Gospels, Peter had his ups and downs. But even as Peter faced his weakest moment, Jesus encouraged him and prayed for him (Luke 22:31-32).

4. Trust God to work. Who would have thought the Peter we are first introduced to in the Bible would become the bold, fearless preacher on the Day of Pentecost?

Consider the undeveloped potential around you. Remember not every great leader appears great at first. But if we can begin to look and lead with the perspective of Christ, we can call out the best in others and ask the Holy Spirit to work through us to accomplish what only He can do.

Jesus made disciples who would make disciples (Matthew 28:19). His earthly ministry lasted only about three years, and Jesus spent most of that time pouring into the leaders who would follow Him.

God calls us as leaders not only to lead for a season, but also to equip leaders who will lead alongside us — and after us — to equip more leaders who will further God’s kingdom.

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