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Investing in People

One of the continual challenges as a leader, especially one who leads in the volunteer sector, is the need to empower people. Without empowering others, we not only put a cap on our potential to make a difference, but we also rob others of the opportunity to fulfill theirs. A leader's ability to empower those around him is one of the primary indicators of an organization's impact.

It is no surprise that Jesus was an expert empower-er! By investing closely in just twelve guys, he created, maintained, and perpetuated a global transformation that has lasted for over 2000 years.

In John 20:19-30 , we see several actions through which Jesus empowered people to fulfill their God given potential.

1) Empowering Leaders bring Clarity to Confusion. The Disciples were confused, elated, doubtful, and fearful after Jesus' death. Amid these emotions, Jesus joins them and says, "Peace be with you." This emphatic statement calmed their emotions and defined what they could be feeling, PeacePeace! The PeacePeace that Jesus brought focused their attention and removed their confusion.

2) Empowering Leaders to give Purpose. As he entered the disciples' room, he found men who were perplexed and lost by the events surrounding his death and resurrection. In the following interaction, he imparts numerous things to them that provide them with a new purpose. These guys had laid down every area of their life to follow Christ, and as he died, their sense of Purpose would have as well. As Jesus comes in, he gives them a mission (vs. 21), the resources (vs. 22), and the message (vs. 23) that they need to rediscover their Purpose. Are you giving Purpose to those you lead?

3) Empowering Leaders meet Practical Needs. This may sound counter-intuitive, but often there is an issue that needs to be taken care of before a person can do what you have empowered them to do. In verse 20, Jesus doesn't just offer PeacePeace; he lets them touch his hands, removing any doubt that this experience didn't happen in the tangibility of real life.

4) Empowering Leaders Commission People with Integrity and Authority. Jesus says, "As the Father has sent me (that's integrity), so I am sending you (that's authority). Do you know that our integrity often carries more weight than our authority? While authority is essential, having integrity is an absolute non-negotiable in an empowering leader.

5) Empowering Leaders are Held Accountable. While it looks at first glance that we are empowered to decide on how forgiveness is offered (23), it is important to realize accountability for this responsibility, in the gospel (Luke 6) that the measure to which we forgive others is the same measure that God will use to forgive us. That's accountability!

6) Empowering Leaders Fully Resource People. Don't ever empower someone to fulfill a task without giving them the resources to complete the task. Jesus says to those he is empowering in this upper room, "Receive the Holy Spirit." There was nothing more they needed.

7) Empowering Leaders Remove Excuses with Precision. Thomas had been absent the first time that Jesus showed up, and to his credit, he didn't want to believe based on a second-hand experience (25). He was unequivocal that he needed to see, touch, and feel Jesus before he would believe. When Jesus arrived, he proactively invited Thomas to see, touch, and feel so that he would accept. To each of Thomas' requests – which were perhaps excuses as to why he didn't want to believe – Jesus responds to them, leaving Thomas with nothing to do but believe. There are often many excuses that people raise as to why they can't do something, and excuses always dis-empower people, but good, empowering leaders to remove people's excuses with precision.

8) Empowering Leaders Invite Transformation. In verse 28, Thomas exclaims, "My Lord and my God!" This guy who previously had said he wouldn't believe, not emphatically, believes! What happened? He met Jesus. Let's never forget that our primary role as empowering leaders is to introduce people to the transforming power in the person of Jesus.

We all stand on the shoulders of people who have empowered us. Jesus has empowered us to change the world, but we can only do it to empower others to share this work with us. In your sphere, be an Empowering Leader!

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