Initiative

by Abraham Cremeens

This week in Titus, we will focus on biblical leadership and its role in a healthy church. Any conversation on leadership is certainly multifaceted. We could talk about character, skill, ambition, and a host of other topics. Many aspects go into good leadership. But I’d like to hone in on the pursuit of taking initiative. In this respect, we all are leaders.


I’ll never forget a time in college when I became more consciously aware of the need to step up and serve. I was a young Christian and part of a campus ministry. We were about to drive in a caravan to a conference, so we circled up to pray for our travel. One of the students asked if someone would lead us in prayer. There was an awkward silence as no one stepped up. Eventually she looked at me and, without a word, sent every signal possible that I had better volunteer.


That event wasn’t remarkable in its scope. Someone praying doesn’t sound like a huge leadership opportunity. However, it has stuck with me all these years as a lesson learned. I needed, and felt the desire, to step up as a person who takes initiative, to move quickly to serve others.


Opportunities to serve are endless. The question comes down to what I will do with them.


Here are three resolutions toward becoming a person of initiative, someone who intentionally pursues the daily practice of loving and serving others:


Resolve to Take Initiative


There are many enemies to this, one of which is self-centeredness. Tell me if you have ever experienced this: You put in a long day at work. You put forth all the effort you could muster to get the job done. You finally enter your home and give a sigh of relief as you plop down on the couch. You hear your spouse and children around you but do not pay attention. This is “my time.” You are done taking initiative. You are ready to serve you and you alone.


Unfortunately for some of us, we don’t have to reach the end of the day to reach that state. We can be in that mode before our feet even hit the floor out of bed in the morning.


The point is this: resolve to be a person who takes initiative at all times, from sunup to sundown. Be aware. Be on the lookout. Be quick to intervene and meet a need around you--even when you don’t feel like it.


Resolve to Take the Right Kind of Initiative


Sometimes we are tempted to take initiative for all of the wrong reasons. Ambition is good. Ambition for personal glory is not good.


Jesus said, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave” (Matthew 20:26-27). Jesus, the greatest leader of all time, the one who deserves all glory, was also the one who stooped to the ground to wash the feet of twelve men (see John 13).


Taking initiative is for the purpose of doing good, to serve others, to meet needs. Often that initiative goes unrecognized and underappreciated. We would all do well to check our heart and monitor the motive behind taking initiative. It should be a daily practice to submit our will to God’s will, even when our will is to serve others.


Resolve to Be You in Taking Initiative


The latest Diet Coke commercial gives the call to “be you.” If you want to drink a Diet Coke, then drink a Diet Coke (the unsaid message seeming to imply, “even though it is terrible for you”). I’m not advocating nor discouraging drinking Diet Coke. But I do think we can tailor the message of that commercial for our purposes here.


God has made each of us unique, allowed us to develop various skill sets, and has gifted us by his Spirit in a plethora of ways. Be you. Taking initiative for some means being up front in a formal position of leadership. For others, that would be contra-you. Be you. For some of you, taking initiative involves making a meal for someone in a crisis. For others, you don’t even know which cupboard holds the right dishes. Be you.


Don’t force yourself into a certain mold of initiative. Needs are diverse, and so are the ways to meet those needs.


If you are reading this on Friday, you will have some sixty hours of a weekend ahead. Let’s be men, women, and children who resolve to take initiative and meet the needs of those around us at every opportunity.