Posted by: everynation | July 1, 2010


by Russ Austin

Reading 1Samuel 23 today, I was hit with the brilliance of David’s leadership again. The following verses are a template for how we can seize an opportunity without deflating the people that serve and labor under our leadership.

1 Samuel 23:1-4 (ESV)
1 Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” 2 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” 3 But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” 4 Then David inquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.”

David had an “idea.” He was a visionary leader with a keen intuition. He had a “nose” for opportunities.
But his men were afraid and concerned about his “idea.” What is interesting here is that David listened to his men. He didn’t demand that they follow his first impulse. He didn’t suggest that they were disloyal or that they were acting in a disrespectful manner because they had some honest and good questions.
He listened and then determined to revisit his idea to make sure he was thinking clearly. On further investigation he was certain that his idea was right and told them so. We don’t see any reticence on their part to follow.

I think this is because they had been “listened too” not just heard.
A good leader must “submit” to his troops desire for him/her to be sure of a decision that puts the church, company, family,etc at great risk. He or she must LISTEN in a desire to understand and respect their thoughts and concerns.

This kind of leadership produces the kind of loyalty and discretionary effort every CEO or manager or pastor is looking for.

David and his men pursued the opportunity and had great results. This is the result of great leadership and great followership. May all of our churches and ministries find this kind of dynamic synergy.

Russ Austin is the founding pastor of Southpoint Community Church in Jacksonville, FLorida. He is married to Debbie and they have three children, Ryan, Aaron and Chelsea and a granddaughter, Madison.

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