Leadership Devotion - August 2016 - Empowerment

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Jesus spent time with the disciples preaching, teaching and, when not buried in work related to his growing mega “congregation,” he found time to lead a small group with the apostles. He was a great teacher and gave the students (students=disciples) hands-on assignments, pushed them to ask and answer questions, gathered them for debriefing sessions and sometimes he let them stumble and struggle, although he never let them truly fail.

We read scripture knowing Jesus is leaving and that meant dying on the cross. That was not a message at his followers understood. But their lack of understanding did not stop him from doing what he was called to do. He was focused, a man of integrity, a leader. He planned his departure right from the start. And, to be sure his ministry continued, Jesus did two distinct things. First, he promised them the power of the Holy Spirit – gifts of courage, confidence, wisdom, insight, sensitivity, decision making, determination, ability and authority. These are gifts the disciples needed for their work. Jesus equipped them for the journey. And, then, he assigned them the task of being his witness in all the earth. He empowered them. Jesus equipped and empowered others to do the work of proclaiming the Gospel. He was a leader.

Think about your particular role as a leader. How would you answer these questions?

How have you been equipped for your assigned mission? Have you received training to be a Sunday School teacher? Do you understand your role on the Church Council? Are you called to be a mentor and trained on healthy boundaries?

Who are you equipping? Are you providing hands-on learning opportunities for others? Have you developed step-by-step instructions or a curriculum? Have you thought about the skills needed to do the job? Do you welcome questions? Are you setting them up for success?

Are you empowering others? Can you accept the fact someone might do the job a different way? Are you willing to let go and let them lead? Do you check in and provide support or find yourself continuing to be the boss? Do you honor and respect their ministry?

All of us are called to equip and empower others for the sake of Christ’s church.


Holy God, help me to be a faithful leader in your church and in your world. Give me the wisdom to be a good teacher and equip others so they can use their gifts effectively. Give me the courage to let go and empower others even when it’s hard for me. Challenge me when I allow my pride, or lack of self-confidence, hinder the work of the church. Show me the way and encourage me to be a strong faithful leader and servant. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sunni Richardson is a member of the Nebraska Synod Leadership Development Table and an Associate in Ministry. She is serving as Director of Discipleship at First Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.