Leadership Requires the Pursuit of Joy

Joy is so important for anyone who wants to be in leadership. I think people can tell when you are trying to lead them in a certain direction, but your heart isn’t really captured by it. As Christians, we are very familiar with seasons that feel really dry and that don’t feel really joyful. I actually feel like I am in one of those seasons right now.

There are some seasons where you read Scripture and you just feel on fire for Jesus and every word you read you see how sweet it is. You just want Jesus and nothing else. There are also drier seasons where you are going to the word and your desire for it isn’t the same. You don’t really want it that much. There is going to be that kind of up and down for any Christian. This reality is part of what it means to follow Jesus. We are still fallen. But my kind of regular pursuit is the pursuit of joy in Jesus. It is that passion and joy that overflows. Then we’re able to lead other people so they can tell that my heart is actually captured by this stuff when I open God’s Word and say, “Hey, this is what God said and it means something to me.”

When I have conversations with people and I am trying to counsel them through things, they can tell if I am simply repeating things I heard somebody say. They can also tell if it is something that has really captured my heart — that I have actually interacted with Jesus in.

I think one of the dangers for me is I want to fight for joy because I don’t want to lead from a perpetually dry place. Then it just becomes hypocritical, because we don’t really believe what we are saying. Maybe we just believe it kind of intellectually, but we don’t believe it at a really deep heart level. So when we say to someone that Jesus satisfies your soul, we say that not from our own actual experience, but because we think it is what we are supposed to say. It can turn into hypocrisy very quickly. I think it can quickly turn into simply mimicking words.

At the heart of my ability to lead other people well is enjoying Jesus myself. Then I get to say, “Here is where I found that joy in the Scriptures in Jesus. Come along with me on this journey,” instead of saying, “Hey, I heard about this place way out there and I want to kind of tell you about what I think it is like.”

Actually I am fighting for the same thing. Let’s go together.

(@TripLee) is an author, teacher, hip-hop artist, and thought leader. He is also a pastor in Atlanta and regularly preaches and teaches at Christian conferences and events.