Seven Keys for Building Leadership

Practical lessons for future Kings and Priests; From an example of the life of Winston Churchill.

 

Winston Churchill had many qualities that made him an outstanding leader. Even as a young man, he stood out among others his age, understanding and seeing things on the world scene that even adults didn’t see.

 

In the conclusion of Book 1 of his history of The Second World War, Churchill wrote this about the day he became prime minister: “I cannot conceal from the reader of this truthful account that as I went to bed about 3 a.m., I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last, I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene. I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.” Churchill recognized that throughout his life, he was being prepared for what he faced in World War II.

 

In face, God was preparing him to stand up to Adolf Hitler and the Holy Roman Empire! Many historians see that Churchill was practically the only man who had the will and the ability to do that job. Could such a unique man come on the scene without any preparation? If God is going to use someone in a leadership position, then He puts in time to prepare that individual. It is quite clear God had a hand in preparing WInston Churchill to be a leader He could use.

 

The Prophet Daniel wrote that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men (Daniel 4:17, 4:25, 4:32). If God wants something to happen, nobody can stop Him! God made Nebuchadnezzar eat grass like an animal for seven years to prove that point (Daniel 5:21). But how many leaders today really know that?

 

God always warns Israel before it is attacked, especially when it is an attack like World War II. Ezekiel 33:1-33:6 is a prophecy of how God would use a man like Churchill as a watchman to warn the nations of Israel that include Britain and America. Churchill fulfilled this role and played a crucial part in history and even Bible prophecy.

 

A Difficult Childhood.

 

How did Winston Churchill become such a mighty man? What kind of childhood did this man have?

 

Churchill had a lot of affection for his mother. “She shone for me like the evening star,” he wrote, “I loved her dearly, but at a distance. In some ways, his love was unreturned. His mother said that she didn’t start paying attention to him until “he became interesting.” which was later in his adult life.

 

Winston’s parents sent him to a tough boarding school when he was only 7 years old. At the time, he had a stutter and lisp, and because of this, other children bullied him terribly. Where were his parents when this was happening? They didn’t want him! He would beg his mother to come and see him, but she usually never replied.

 

Historian William Manchester wrote The Last Lion, one of the most dramatic biographies of Churchill. He got to the point of what Churchill was all about in a way that many biographers fail to do. And he wrote over a hundred pages in the first volume about the ordeal Churchill had to go through with his parents.

 

“He was to young to travel in London along,” Manchester wrote, “Yet he couldn’t even be sure there would be anyone to greet his train when he arrived: We have 19 days holiday at Easter. I hope you will send someone to meet me at the station.’

 

Astonishingly, Randolph met an appointment in Brighton a short walk from the school but didn’t bother to cross the street and call on his son. Winston found out about it. ‘My dear papa,’ he wrote ‘You never came to see me on Sunday when you were in Brighton.’ It happened again: while you were in Brighton, I was very disappointed but I suppose you were to busy to come.”

 

Because he didn’t excel at Greek or Latin, Winston’s instructors considered him a dunce. His mother wrote him saying, “Dearest Winston, you make me very unhappy…. Your work is an insult to your intelligence.” His parents never gave him any praise or recognition. He replied, “My own mummy, I can tell you your letter cut me up very much.”

 

After being at that school for 10 years, each parent only visited him once, and not at the same time.

 

God had a hand in many of these experiences Churchill had to endure. God used them to toughen him up, preparing him for his future role as prime minister.

 

Churchill’s life teaches us many lessons. It is especially important to study the qualities of leadership he showed. God’s true Christians are in training for positions of leadership even more exalted than any that Churchill fulfilled! If we are going to have an impact as leaders, then we must be building leader like qualities today!

 

Here are seven key points on building real leadership.

 

  1. A Leader Must Have Vision.

 

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18. If we lack Godly Vision, then we, along with those we lead, will perish!

 

World War II was, as Manchester wrote, “England’s greatest crisis since the Norman conquest, vaster than those precipitated by Philip II’s Spanish Armada, Louis XIV’s triumpahant armies, or Napoleon’s invasion barges massed at Boulogne. This time Britain stood alone. If the Germans crossed the channel and established uncontested beachheads, all would be lost…’ (The Last Lion). Britain was nearly being brought to its death as a nation! At Dunkirk, the British almost lost 220,000 of there best soldiers. If God hadn’t performed a miracle, they would have all died.

 

In these dark circumstances, Churchill showed remarkable vision. The English feared for their lives! They were looking for a powerful leader. Churchill was the man. He knew you didn’t win wars by retreating from the enemy. He recognized that it was a time for stern resolve, He determined to prepare for tough times and fight!

 

Manchester wrote that England was looking for “an artist who knew how to gather the blazing light of history into his prism and then distort it to his ends, an embodiment of inflexible resolution who could impose his will and his imagination on his people: a great tragedian who understood the appeal of martyrdom and could tell his followers the worst, hurling it to them like great hunks of bleeding meat, persuading them that the year of Dunkirk would be one in which it was equally good to live or to die’ …Churchill didn’t speak smooth things to the British people! No leader today would speak to his people like that.

 

Manchester concluded the introduction of his first volume by writing, “Such a man, if he existed. Would be England’s last chance. In London, there was such a man.” Winston Churchill was the man for the job. But it wasn’t because of anything he did; it was all organized by the one who rules in the kingdom of men – God! Churchill had been prepared by God. He didn’t have God’s Spirit, but he did serve God’s purpose. God did not want His people to die during the sixth head of the Holy Roman Empire. So Churchill was prepared by God to save the Western world!

 

The Allies came extremely close to losing World War II, After Neville Chamberlain’s resignation, two men were left to fill the position of prime minister: Halifax and Churchill. The king wanted Halifax in that position. Halifax’s plan was to negotiate peace with Hitler. But Churchill understood that if Britain was going to win the war, it had to fight! The rest of Europe was folding, with many smaller nations surrendering. But Churchill said, “We will never surrender!” Terrible things were happening and it looked as thought Germany would overtake Britain. But Churchill said Britain would die choking in its own blood before that would happen. What a remarkable leader!

 

What vision it took for Churchill to recognize that the great German warmonger could be conquered! For Britain to survive, it needed a leader who had VISION!

 

2. A Leader Must Learn History.

 

In spite of Churchill’s difficulties in his childhood, he excelled in areas that set him apart from all others. One area where he stood out was in the subject of history.

 

Winston had a love for studying history. Though he was at the bottom of his class, he could recite 1,200 lines of McCauley, the historian.

 

One of his teachers wrote his parents saying, “If he is unable to conquer this slovenliness… he will never make a success of a public school.. (Winston) is a remarkable boy in many ways, and it would be a thousand pities if such good abilities were made useless by habitual negligence. I ought not to close without telling you that i am very much pleased with some history work he has done for me.”

 

If you learn history, then you will have a lot more vision as a leader. It gives you a vital perspective, as Churchill’s life proved. Winston Churchill learned history! He was fascinated with that subject and saw great importance in it. It proved to be invaluable in informing his decision-making as prime minister. What Churchill later wrote about the Earl of Rosebery, you could apply to Churchill himself: “The past stood ever at his elbow and was the counselor upon whom he most relied. He seemed to be attended by learning and history, and to carry into current events an air of ancient majesty.”

 

3. A Leader Must Learn To Love And Use Language.

 

Churchill loved Shakespeare and poetry. He was often able to correct his teachers because he knew more about it than they did. He regularly spoke about how noble the English language was and how he loved the essential structure of an ordinary British sentence. “Shortly after Winston’s 14th birthday,” Manchester wrote, “the headmaster told Seely that he had never seen a boy with such a love and veneration for the English language.”

 

Churchill’s fascination with words continued to grow throughout his life. He really learned how to use the English language.

 

He went on to write and speak as no other historian or leader ever did. His speeches helped galvanize the British people in resisting Germany’s advance. When President John Kennedy granted Churchill honorary American citizenship in 1963, he famously said, “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.”

 

4. A Spiritual Leader Must Honor His Father.

 

As Winston grew, his relationship with his physical father was practically nonexistent. After almost 10 years in the boarding school his parents had sent him to, he wrote his parents: “You have never been to see me and so everything will be new to you.” To his mother he wrote, “Do try to get Papa to come. He has never been.” But as Manchester wrote, “Papa refused. The relationship between these two had long been doomed.”

 

How could God make Churchill great even when his childhood seemed so bleak?

 

There is a vital lesson in this for us. We can have difficult pasts, but if we are honoring God the Father, He will make us great! If you honor your Spiritual Father, then you are never alone!

 

What if you had to appeal for God the Father to come, the way Churchill had to appeal for his physical father to visit him? Jesus Christ was brutally beaten and marred to the point that He didn’t even look like a man and then died for our sins. That shows how committed your Spiritual Father is to helping you. He will never refuse to come when you ask for Him! He will never let you down.

 

When we don’t succeed in life, it is natural to present a lot of excuses as to why. But look at Churchill.

 

I’m sure the fact that his father didn’t like him and thought he would never succeed really motivated him later in life.

 

5. A Leader Must Have Ambition.

 

Early in his adult life, Churchill had an ambition to be prime minister. But he knew that if he was to fulfill such a high office, he had to get involved in war.

 

Though he finished at the bottom of his class at Harrow, he passed with high honors from Sandhurst military academy. He then went on to India for nine years and served in nine British regiments. Most notably, he served in the last British cavalry charge with 21 lancers at the Battle of Omdurman. He was also in the Batter of the Royal Scots Fusiliers on the western front in World War I.

 

If there was a war, Winston was there! He threw himself into these dangerous endeavors because he really wanted to become a man of influence in Parliament. He had ambition to achieve great things.

 

This kind of ambition is necessary for great accomplishments in this world. God’s people, though, must look at this Spiritually, We need ambition not for ourselves, but for GOD!

 

God’s people are going to be kings and priests. That means we need Godly Ambition!

 

God is in the process of recreating Himself. That is the greatest thing that God can achieve. Think about the immense scale of ambition God has; Recreating Himself in man is the ultimate feat of His ability! His ambition will result in a royal God Family of massive size, spreading into the universe forever! “The Zeal of the Lord of host will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7).

 

We need to take on that ambitious thinking ourselves and do everything we can to help God accomplish His ambitions! We need Godly ambition. God’s people are being called to help serve an estimated 50 billion people on the Last Great Day at the Great White Throne Judgment! God wants to see His people really achieve and overcome, using the power of God to do so.

 

6. A Leader Must Be A Servant.

 

Matthew 20 relates the account of the mother of Zebedee’s children coming to Jesus Christ. She asked for her sons to sit at the right and left hand of Christ. She and her sons were ambitious. But they lacked an important dimension of understanding.

 

Christ reminded this woman that those positions were not His to give, but the Fathers. The 10 disciples heard this conversation and it made them upset. They were competing with each other for these positions! They wanted to know which of them would be the greatest.

 

At that point, Christ reminded them of an important truth:  “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (verses 26-27). It is not Godly ambition to compete for high positions as the disciples were doing. That kind of competition is a bitter pill we must get rid of.

 

With many leaders in God’s Church, you often don’t see them in the spotlight because they are not looking for recognition. They just want to serve.

 

As much as his parents neglected him, young Winston did have a nanny, and she proved to be a huge and positive influence in his life. Her name was Elizabeth Everest. He called her “Woom.” Of her, he wrote, “My nurse is my confidant. At her death, she was my dearest and most intimate friend.” This woman was there to serve and help him when he needed her most. This remarkable nanny played an important part in shaping and preparing this soon-to-be great leader.

 

Look at what this woman did for Churchill just by serving! She helped shape a magnificent leader! You could say she had a mighty impact on Western civilization just by serving this young boy!

 

We need to be ambitious TO SERVE and forget about the spotlight.

 

If you compare yourself with others, you will only get discouraged. When i was in third grade and a fellow student was exalted with a higher grade above me, I thought to myself, Well, I must not be doing so well. But during conversations with some people 3 to 7 times my age, i was told to just get out there and serve! If you get passed by in an opportunity, that’s not necessarily because you aren’t pleasing God. Just get the fouc off yourself, and focus on serving!

 

Get out and serve, never giving up! If you have the right attitude and don’t quit, then you will always win.

 

7. A Leader Must Have Courage.

 

Churchill had to endure a lot of difficulty when he went off to those wars. But that military experience helped build a lot of courage in him. That courage would eventually give him the gumption to stand up to Adolf Hitler and to be the man that Britain needed to win the war.

 

At the time that troops were evacuating Dunkirk, the French had decided that they would make a deal with Hitler. BRITAIN WOULD HAVE TO STAND ALONE AGAINST GERMANY. But Churchill had the courage to say, Whether we live or die we are going to fight! He wasn’t going to shrink back in fear.

 

We must have courage. There are things in our personal lives that we may fear, just as i’m sure Churchill feared some of the challenges he faced. But we can have the power of God behind us every time we try to carry out our duty. When you step out in faith, you will be building courage. Every time you step out and trust God, He will back you.

 

God promises that he won’t try you more than you can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). He isn’t trying to get you to fail. He knows you so well that he knows the level of trial to put you through. He knows precisely how far to go with a trial to help you learn a lesson and build courage and ambition along the way.

 

After all, if we are going to sit on the throne with Jesus Christ and rule the Earth and the universe, then we must have courage and ambition of the right kind! We are going to be kings and priests; that is not a fantasy: It is our God-ordained future!

 

Churchill’s fighting spirit made him unique among other men. That is the SPIRIT that God wants us to have: We are going to fight to the death or to life. The British wanted to give up, but to Churchill, that wasn’t an option! His voice and words changed their thinking. He was a unique man who had weaknesses, but he did have some real virtues that saved a war-weary Britain. Historian Alistair Cooke listed this as Churchill’s greatest virtue: “Above all, in the supreme crisis of national survival, his absolute refusal (unlike many good and prudent men around him) to compromise or surrender.” Churchill WOULD NOT compromise or surrender, regardless of how negative the situation.

 

Cooke continued: “An old English friend who served in the British embassies both in Washington and Moscow was always put off by his (Churchill’s) brutality, his contempt for the lesser breeds without the law, his lust for war, and so on’; nevertheless, he thought of him as a hero, ‘BECAUSE I THINK HE SAVED OUR LIVES, and i expect that under my old chief Lord Halifax we should have made peace in 1940 and been successfully invaded after, or before the defeat of Russia’” (emphasis mine). People began to see that CHURCHILL SAVED THEIR LIVES! That is leadership par excellence in this world!

 

Churchill saved the Western world! He stopped the West from being enslaved to Adolf Hitler, Germany and the Holy Roman Empire! God helped this man develop the kind of character and leadership that saved nations!

 

English author Harold Begbie wrote, “But politics for Churchill… have nothing to do with Churchill. It must have everything to do with the salvation of mankind.”

 

Churchill knew an unchecked Hitler meant the annihilation of the world. He was concerned about the salvation of mankind!

 

What are we here for today? God is using His firstfruits to save mankind! We cannot be thinking about ourselves, our focus must remain on being servants who save people. We need to bring people into God’s Family by the example we set by God! This is an amazing opportunity to help Jesus Christ!

 

Churchill saved Britain when it was asleep. Now the world is in a coma and God needs US to STEP UP TO OUR LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL! 

 

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