Ministry Resources

Leadership: Keeping in Step

Author: Deanna Leone

Recently, I had to lead in an area that 1. isn’t my strength, and 2. I have limited experience in.

It was daunting. I can say it definitely added to my prayer life as well helped me develop greater humility, and those are good things.

I realized that my leader in this area is the one with both the strength and experience to carry the responsibility. My role is simply to follow her lead. I also realized there are areas where I’m the one with strength and experience who others look to for leadership. We’re all in one or another of these roles in our ministry, work, and relationships.

And for all of us in Christ, He is THE leader in EVERY area. No matter our position in a particular setting, we rely on Jesus to take the lead. That means that our role is to follow His lead, or what Paul, in Galatians 5:25 calls keeping “in step with the Spirit.” Our role is to match His steps, His direction, His pace; we keep IN step—not lagging behind, not running ahead, but yoked alongside, walking step-by-step with Him.

Three things help us keep in step with the Spirit:


Surrender isn’t a giving up, it’s a handing over. Forfeiting is giving up—because we have no choice. The circumstances dictate our action and we are forced into a decision. Surrendering is handing over control to someone else in a choice of trust. We have a right to maintain control, but decide to relinquish that control. Jesus showed a heart of surrender when He declared “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord…. (John 10:18),” and when He says to His Father, “…not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42).” So then, how do we surrender? By choosing to give up control and respond to God—to go anywhere, at any time to do anything, for anybody.


Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…” so we can run the race marked out for us. Galatians 5:1 says that is was for freedom that we have been set free. Extra weight and tangled feet aren’t conducive to running with freedom. Often, we let ourselves and our sins—pain, pride, preferences, positions, people—keep us weighed down and bound up. So then, how do we stay free? By keeping in the truth of God’s word, keeping a lifestyle of repentance, keeping relationships with godly people, and keeping alert in prayer.


Greater understanding leads to greater obedience. Obedience always brings the blessing of God and gives us joy. Look at the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts chapter 8. A devout man, traveling far from home to worship; a man of great stature overseeing his country’s finances; a learned man reading a costly scroll of Isaiah’s writing. Yet he sought greater understanding and eagerly received it when Philip offered to explain the scriptures to him. He was immediately baptized and continued on his journey rejoicing. So then, how can we seek understanding? By remaining teachable, recognizing others’ authority, receiving instruction, and responding quickly.

Leading can be overwhelming, until we remember that it’s more about how we are living—under God’s leadership. What a relief! Let’s commit to surrender, stay free, and seek understanding together, so that we can keep in step with the Spirit and allow Him to carry the responsibility and take the lead.

Deana Leone serves at CityReach Cleveland and on the assessment team for CityReach Network. She has a heart for discipleship and is energized by opportunities to help develop and encourage others.h churches.

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