Snapshots of Jesus-Centered Leadership: Paul Turner

Our world desperately needs Jesus-centered leaders!

We trust this interview with Paul Turner (Arrow Class 41) who serves as International Director of Latin Link will encourage and equip you to be led more by Jesus, lead more like Jesus and lead more to Jesus.

Paul, what’s one practice that helps you to be led more BY Jesus?

Prayer. I am still learning it. I started as a little boy, and it is something I can never stop learning. Aside from daily devotional time, it’s now a continued conversation with God throughout the day. It happens when I am out for a run, walking to the store, catching the bus, before I go to sleep and when I wake up. Prayer helps me be in constant contact with my Heavenly Father. There is nothing that can separate me from his love.

Prayer helps me be in constant contact with my Heavenly Father. There is nothing that can separate me from his love. Click To Tweet

How are you seeking to lead more LIKE Jesus?

Humility is one aspect where I’m really seeking to follow Jesus in my leadership. And it can be quite hard. In the Latin American context in which I lead, there’s sometimes a cultural expectation on how a Christian leader should come across. That expectation can at times be at odds with how I see Jesus as a leader. I want to match biblical teachings such as Philippians 2 and Jesus’ humility. The piece that sticks with me is Jesus giving up what was rightfully his and making himself a servant.

What are some practical ways you seek to develop humility?

In the words of C.S. Lewis, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” I try to do this by valuing what others have to say and their contribution. I’m intentional about hearing from everyone on my leadership team, even those who are quieter and more reflective. I love investing in younger leaders by giving them opportunities and supporting them along the way. Encouraging feedback and accepting and learning from constructive criticism are great ways of staying humble. For example, helping put away chairs, doing the dishes and collecting the garbage at events are small ways of showing I’m no more important than anyone else in the organization.

Encouraging feedback and accepting and learning from constructive criticism are great ways of staying humble. Click To Tweet

How can we lead more TO Jesus?

One thing working for me is a regular meet up with old school friends. These are people I made friends with forty years ago. We are on an app together to stay in touch, and we meet for lunch every few months. It’s a relaxed environment, and everyone knows I am a Christian and in mission work. But I can talk about my faith and answer questions they have. It’s easygoing and no pressure.

Paul, how are you leading differently because of participating in the Arrow Leadership Program™?

Since Arrow, my leadership is much more based on a daily dependence on Jesus instead of dependence on my own strengths and abilities. I’m more reflective as a leader, but at the same time less self-absorbed about my own leadership. And I ask more questions.

Another significant difference for me is that I have learned to lean into healthy rhythms rather than striving for the perfect work-life balance. I no longer feel threatened by other leaders and people’s circumstances simply because I know and am clear about my identity in Christ. My identity is not in my role, and that truth has been incredibly freeing.

 

 

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