“Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity … Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:12, 15-16)

Ok – we’ve heard it all before. It’s read out at ordinations and the like. But as I was reading it again (as I’m editing Porterbrook material) it struck me how fundamental, simple, challenging and life-changing it is.

Leadership isn’t about all the upfront stuff, though that’s often what we talk about, what we promote (by implication) at conferences and the like and what we aspire to. However, what Paul promotes here is a simple life of godliness, lived out in front of believers, that, coupled with sound taught doctrine, leads to salvation. No big speeches, no grand conferences or platforms, no book deals or church TV channel. A life of example.

Apparently Don Carson once asked “when was the last time you said to someone ‘You want to know what a life lived for the gospel looks like? Then watch me!’?” But if we don’t (or can’t) ask this, then we’re neglecting the fundamental duty of leadership…