One leadership principle that impacted me in a pivotal way in college was a message that I heard from Dr. Frank Page. Page spoke during a spiritual emphasis week at North Greenville University when I attended (the year was probably 2000 – I’m getting old). During one of his messages, he spoke about a leadership principle from an obscure Old Testament story. While he set up this principle with the very familiar story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17), Page reminded people who the leader, Saul, was cowering in his tent and that is why it was astonishing that the follower, David, would face the giant in a land of fearful people.
You remember the story, don’t you? David the shepherd boy waltzed out among all these fearful warriors shaking in their boots and decided he would fight Goliath. Not because he liked to fight, but because Goliath was talking about his God. Time to represent. He went and killed Goliath, cut off his head, and proved that leadership didn’t require a title.
When David is king, a record is kept of David’s followers who are busy killing giants themselves (1 Chron. 20:4-8). Page taught that when a leader is a giant-killer, the followers eagerly desire to kill giants themselves. What’s amazing about this passage is no one ever really teaches on it. David killing Goliath makes headlines in the Bible, but when his followers are killing more giants that are even bigger than Goliath, it doesn’t even make front page. Why? Because when you have a coward for a leader, its big news if someone decides to be brave. But when you have a brave leader, you just expect everyone else to fall in line. Giant slaying leaders develop giant slaying followers.
From this obscure passage, Page taught that followers would rarely rise above the example of their leader. As Christian leaders, he charged the group with the thought that if we desired to see the campus accomplish great things for Christ, the leaders better be setting that example themselves.
The question is simple: if you are in a position of leadership, are you truly leading? If you desire to have giant slaying followers, you must be a giant slaying leader.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.