Vertical Leadership

Todd Stiles   -  

Every environment needs leaders.

But what sets leaders apart? What distinguishes them?

Interestingly, an overview of Joshua reveals some interesting patterns. No doubt Joshua was truly a man used by God to impact a whole nation.  Chosen by the Lord to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua refused to shrink back from challenge after challenge, ultimately entering, conquering, and dividing the land among his fellow Hebrews. Consider this—the Israelites remained true to Jehovah even after Joshua’s death, a legacy left by few others.

So what were his “secrets?”  What traits did Joshua exhibit that created such a climate for impact?  Are there transferable principles from his life to help leaders today? Here are seven brief observations about leadership from the life of Joshua.

  1. Leaders emphasize God twice as much as man (Joshua 1:1-18).
  2. Leaders obey God, regardless of the risk involved (Joshua 3:7-6:27; 7:6-26).
  3. Leaders understand that personal worship is primary, and personal projects are secondary (Joshua 5:13-15; 8:30-35).
  4. Leaders pray, consulting with God before making decisions (Joshua 9:3-21; 10:12-14).
  5. Leaders recognize the continuing impact of previous people God used(Joshua 11:15, 20, 23; 12:6; 13:8; 14:2; 20:2; 24:2-15).
  6. Leaders capitalize on the power of divine momentum (Joshua 10:29-42).
  7. Leaders empower people to move and act based on God’s promises and victories (Joshua 17:14-18).

While much more could be said about each of these, the previous observations and their connected passages sufficiently show what commitments mattered to Joshua. They were vertical commitments rooted in God’s purposes and plan, not his own. Yes, Joshua led with vertical leadership.

This week, in whatever arena you lead and are exerting influence, commit to leading from the playbook of Joshua towards the purposes and plan of God. In doing so, may God grant that those who follow you take up the mantle long after you are gone and lead the next generation to do the same for the fame of God’s name.

Pastor Todd