Ok, so you want to be a biblically masculine man, you want to be the leader in your household, but you haven’t the slightest idea where to start. Like many men, you might be confused about what this looks like. Do I dictate all the decisions, do I tell everyone what to do, and expect everyone to do what I say?
Whether you’re single in your early twenties or a family man in your 30's or 40’s there are some very practical pieces of advice to initiate and strengthen your leadership.
Lead yourself first. You can’t make anyone follow you, but you can become a man that your family wants to choose to follow. This is the single most important thing single men at any age can do to prepare for a Godly relationship. If you're married, this is where you start your leadership transformation.
Lead yourself physically.
Get into shape, and remove your preventable risk factors. Get your weight, body mass index, blood pressure, % body fat, waist circumference, and push up number within levels that reduce the risk for chronic disease. Check out a previous blog article for more details. There is no "do as I say not what I do"! If you can’t lead yourself physically, you will not be able to perform physically and sexually, you will not be able to protect and provide properly for your family, and your ability to prepare will be significantly hampered. If you are overweight and not making any progress towards eliminating that fact, you are not leading yourself.
Lead yourself spiritually.
If you can’t lead yourself spiritually, you can’t possibly expect to lead anyone, let alone those who are most familiar with you, to greater spiritual maturity. If you haven’t been baptized, go through the process. Have your kids and spouse in the front row when you do. If you’ve been baptized already, talk to your kids about why you did and what it meant to you. Have a regular quiet time that is composed of prayer time, Bible study time, and meditation time. Yes, you do have time- if it’s a priority.
Lead yourself emotionally.
See a counselor. No there doesn’t have to be something acutely wrong for you to learn who you are and how that affects your communication, relationships, motivation, performance, etc. Seriously, why wouldn’t you want to improve in those areas? Or get a coach to move your mindset from where you are to where you want to be. Or, get a mentor. An older, wiser, Godly Christian man to who you give permission to hold you accountable for your actions and reactions.
You can’t make anyone follow you, but you can become a man that your family wants to choose to follow.
Specifically, study spiritual leadership. You can certainly study generic leadership, such as the plethora of corporate leadership materials or John Maxwell’s leadership materials. But, I also recommend studying spiritual leadership. At any age or any stage of life, you can learn about leadership. There are many books, studies, podcasts, etc available. Here are a couple of books that I have read, studied, or taught from: Spiritual Leadership by Richard and Henry Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Chambers, and The Measure of a Man by Gene Getz.
If your family or your future spouse sees how you make wise decisions for yourself it builds trust in the indicators that good decisions can and will be made with and for them.
Take the Initiative
What’s after leading yourself? Really, what this is asking is what’s the next step after your family notices you’ve been consistently leading yourself. Take initiative in prayer, study, church, and relationships.
Taking initiative with prayer.
After establishing a consistent individual prayer life, pray with your wife. Meaning, you actually initiate the prayer time and you actually pray. Pray with your kids. Pray or be the one who assigns who prays at meal times. Take the initiative in your home’s prayer life by being the spiritual leader. You are the leader but you aren’t the one praying all the time.
Take the initiative to study the Bible.
After establishing a consistent and effective independent Bible study, study with your wife. Now, men, I’ve seen this scenario way too often: Husband says, “wife, we need to do a Bible study.” Wife finds a study, schedules it, husband shows up- sort of. Men, leading and taking the initiative looks like this. You research specific subjects and their resources and decide together with your wife which study to do. Then YOU procure the resources and lead the cadence or frequency, with mutual agreement of your spouse, for when and where you get together to discuss the study. You are the leader but don’t have to be the content expert.
Take the initiative with church.
*crickets….* Yeh, 61% of men don’t even attend church. Not only is this not leading your family to spiritual maturity, it’s leading them astray. Listen men, attend church. But that’s not even to a leadership level yet. Outwardly express the value of the effect church has on you, your kids, and your relationships. YOU initiate the excitement so your family sees and hears it from you. I can almost bust out laughing when I see this scenario: the dad is the last one out of the car, the slowest one walking into the church, has eyes down with no smile whatsoever, barely nods at the greeter, and stands there like a lump while his wife tries to find a place for the family to sit. He’s the first one to leave, starting the car before the family has left their seats…. This is not leadership, this is the devil’s tool. Men lead.
Participate while you’re in church. Sing, actually sing like you mean it, not necessarily loud, but real, and more than lips moving. I watched the men around me at church this past Sunday and was genuinely surprised by the number of men whose lips weren’t even moving during worship singing.
Authentically participate men. You can’t raise your hands during worship and have your kids look at you and think, “so fake” because you treat them poorly at home.
Bring your Bible, use it during service- model this.
Educate- Be the one who asks the kids and wife one thing that resonated with them in service, then offer your brief thought. Maybe a discussion will ensue, maybe not. If someone else starts this, then participate fully and authentically. Model authentic participation.
Taking the initiative doesn’t mean dominating the process. In the above examples, you and your wife together decide what study to do but you take the initiative in the research and conversation. Your wife may be exceptionally talented at asking questions and drawing things out of the kids, so the after-church conversation is initiated by you perhaps like this, “so, wife, what question was conjured up in your mind from today’s teaching?” You are leading by taking the initiative but not domineering by making all decisions and dominating all communication.
You CAN do it!
Leading yourself physically, spiritually, and emotionally as well as taking the initiative with prayer, Bible study, and church are two very practical and necessary steps to take to begin your journey as an effective, authentic, biblical leader. You CAN do it!
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