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Traits – Joyful Enthusiastic Encourager

As I conclude this series of sharing traits of an effective leader, this week I focus on how leaders are to be joyful enthusiastic encouragers.  I had a friend who is a pilot tell me that one of the instruments planes have is an “attitude indicator.”  It simply lets the pilot know if the nose of the plane is above or below the horizon, if it is climbing in altitude or diving.  I thought of how this is a great illustration for leadership.  Our attitude determines our altitude. One of the attitudes we as Christians are called to demonstrate is joy.  Paul gives the imperative, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice” (Phil 4:4).  In John 15, Jesus commanded us to remain in his love and keep his commands, he explained, “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (v.11).  The source of our joy is in our relationship with Jesus.  He is the fountainhead that springs forth living water that produces joy within our hearts. It is also one of the characteristics named as the fruit of the Spirit.  As leaders it is important for us to express this kind of joy.  Our churches need joyful pastors.  But let’s face it, this is not easy.  Ministry is often difficult, demanding, and can deplete the joy we need to demonstrate. However, we need to battle for joy. Jesus says we have an enemy who want to steal, kill and destroy, but he has come that we might have life and have it in abundance (Jn. 10:10). Our Good shepherd protects and provides for us and has laid down his life so we could have and enjoy this abundant life.  That is something worth rejoicing over.  As leaders and proclaimers of this life, Jesus is not calling us to be cheerleaders trying to rally a crowd rooting for a losing team, rather he wants us to live in the joy of knowing that our names are written in heaven as one on the winning team, and that in Him we are more than conquerors.  The joy of the Lord is our strength, and it is one that we can spread to others.  Solomon wrote, “A cheerful heart has a continual feast” (Prov. 15:15). Therefore, let us passionately pursue and find our joy in Jesus, and then let us “leak” that joy to those we serve and lead.  – Dr. Gary Mathes