- Allen Domelle
You Can’t Dictate Respect and Loyalty
2 Chronicles 10:14
And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
Rehoboam made one of the great mistakes many young leaders make; he tried to dictate respect instead of earning it. After the death of Rehoboam's father, the people came to ask him if he would lighten their tax burden. Of course, we all know that he followed the advice of the young men whom he grew up with and forsook the advice of the older men to his detriment. However, what we often miss is that Rehoboam should have learned from the older men that he needed to earn their respect and loyalty instead of demanding it. Rehoboam demanded their loyalty and respect, and what he found out was that his demand for them to respect and be loyal to him led to him losing most of the kingdom.
One of the things new leaders or young pastors often ask me is how to get the people to follow them. My advice is always to earn their respect by example. When I became the pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church, I did not demand the church to follow me. The only thing I asked of the people was to create a space in their heart to love me. I told the people that I did not want to replace my predecessor in their heart; I just wanted them to create a space in their heart to love me. I then got busy doing what I wanted the people to do, and the amazing thing was that they followed me. Not only did they follow me, but they have given me their respect and loyalty as a result of my hard work. Had I demanded their respect as Rehoboam did, Maranatha Baptist Church would not be what it is today, and many souls would likely be on their way to Hell. Let me share a couple things you can do to earn people’s respect and loyalty as a leader.
First, don't brag about what you can do; do what you believe you can do, and let your works speak for you. Too many want to talk about what they can do, which causes people to despise them. People don't want a boastful person to lead them; they want someone to love and lead them by example. When those you lead see the results of your work is when they will begin to respect and follow you.
Second, love them by being there for them in their time of hurt. One reason king David was able to get a following was because he was there for those who were hurting when king Saul forsook them. People will follow you if you are there for them when they are hurting. Often, helping people in their time of hurt will inconvenience your schedule, but if you want them to follow you as you serve the Lord, you will have to be inconvenienced to help them in their time of hurt.
Third, don't look for greener grass. You earn loyalty and respect over time. Too many want people to immediately respect and be loyal to them when they have not earned it through time. Determine to stay where you are and don’t run to a new place because running to a new place will become your character trait. Those who have earned the greatest respect and loyalty from their followers are those who have chosen not to look for another place, but to stay where they are for many years. If you love the people you lead, and lead them by example for many years, you will earn their respect and loyalty.