We can learn a great deal about leadership from scripture. From examples of how not to lead (Adam and King Saul) to exemplary leadership (Jesus), the Word of God provides guidance on what to avoid and what to emulate in developing effective leaders. Overture embraces these biblical leadership examples and principles as it continues to develop local Haitian leaders to guide their communities out of generational poverty and into self-reliance and autonomy.
Recap From Last Month's Training
As you may recall, we began our leadership training series in March with a focus on teaching leaders to strive to embrace traits from a biblical context as servant leaders – a leader who is in service to others, encouraging their development so they can achieve success (Luke 22:24-27). By providing continuing education for our staff, they can better train and work with community leaders.
Luke 22:24-27 reminds us that true leaders must be servants first!
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
In the first training, we focused on:
1. Assessing and identification of typical and potential pitfalls of leadership. From complacency to temptation, leaders are faced with challenges every day. We helped our participants identify these pitfalls and equipped them to overcome them.
2. “Servant Leadership” – We explored desired leadership traits from a biblical context and how this model follows our Christian beliefs and commitment to serving those most vulnerable.
Becoming an Effective Leader
In our second training session held in late April, our leadership team discussed how to develop character, build trusting relationships, and how to improve the effectiveness of their leadership. Scripture and practical training were used to focus on the importance of trust as an essential element in character and how leaders are perceived by others, and how authenticity, integrity, and accountability are intertwined with a leader’s ability to build trusting relationships.
Executive Director Lisa Hyatt used the story of King David, Bathsheba and Nathan in 2 Samuel to demonstrate how important it is for leaders not to abuse their authority and power or neglect their responsibilities of accountability (2 Samuel 11-12).
King David held great power over his nation and people. Ultimately, he abused his power to first commit adultery with Bathsheba which led to her pregnancy by David. Upon discovering this, David continues to deepen his sinful behavior by ordering Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah (a soldier) home from battle to try to get him to sleep with his wife to cover up the adulterous act. This plan fails, so David decides to kill Uriah by placing him at the frontlines of the battle. What began as a lustful affair ends in murder. As King, David held the highest authority, but he did have someone close to hold him accountable - enter Nathan, David’s friend and God’s prophet. Nathan tells David a story about a shepherd whose only sheep was taken away by a rich man who had already possessed multiple sheep. David is infuriated at this rich man. Nathan then turns the table on David letting him know he is the rich man who stole the one sheep. Nathan’s accountability moves David to repentance and ultimately restores his relationship with God.
This scripture showed the developing Haitian leaders an example of leadership gone astray and the importance of holding each other accountable. Scripture teaches that we will be held accountable before God and that we are meant as brothers and sisters in Christ to hold each other accountable for our words and actions. Being accountable means being willing to explain our actions with honesty and openness. And for a country that has such a long history of corrupt leaders, holding others accountable is not the norm. In fact, accountability is often discouraged by coercion, threats and violence. That’s why Overture, through the generosity of our supporters, is strategically investing in training the current and future leaders of the communities in southern Haiti.
The Haitians involved in the training are eager to learn how to become effective leaders to build resilient and self-reliant communities. It's critical that Overture continues to educate and speak into the lives of these emerging leaders to ensure southern Haiti is transformed from the inside out!