Many leadership books and lessons have been written using the examples of biblical characters such as Nehemiah, David, Paul and more. Rarely have I seen leadership lessons gleaned from God's creative work in Genesis 2. Today, I'm going to make a couple observations about leadership which are a result of my reading in Genesis, but first let me identify a couple preconceptions about leadership:
1) Leadership is not about power or authority, it is about investing into people. That's why Jesus washed his disciples feet.
2) Leadership is not always measurable. We invest ourselves faithfully, we pray for the Spirit's work, but ultimately we don't know the results of our investment. Fortunately, God is more concerned with our investment... He already knows the return.
So here are a few "Leadership Lessons from Genesis 2" (read the chapter if you need more context!). Whether you are leading a musical group, a group of volunteers in children's ministry, a project team or any other group of people; you may find one or two helpful suggestions from these thoughts.
1) Invest in people by giving them a purpose. "the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." When you are leading others, regularly communicate the ultimate goal. Help them see it for themselves, and gently guide them toward it.
2) Invest in people by giving them freedom to work. "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden..." Nothing is more frustrating than being micro-managed. If your team members are capable on their own, let them do things on their own!
3) Invest in people by providing them contextual guidelines. "you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." We all need boundaries. However, rather than creating walls and fences, try to simply help your team identify what you are NOT trying to accomplish. The more clearly they understand what the big goal is and is not, the easier it will be for them to stay within the guidelines.
4) Invest in people by granting them the necessary authority to work. "He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was his name." Intentionally tell other people how much faith you have in your team. Few things are more empowering than knowing that your leader believes in you, so work hard to make sure your team knows you believe in them!
5) Invest in people by providing them the appropriate help to complete their work. "But for Adam no suitable helper was found...Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man." Regularly ask your team what they need. Equip them for success by ensuring they have the resources and people necessary to accomplish their goal.