[management by God] prepare to be tested

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

November 10, 2010

I remember getting my first position as a manager. There was so much excitement, and so much pride in the fact that my hard work has finally paid off!

And I know that many people can identify with these feelings as well, but I also felt a bit anxious about the great level of uncertainty around what my future held for me. Remember that feeling? Your first role in some sort of leadership, and rather than standing strong on what got you there, you suddenly fear what might be in your now so uncertain future.

As we explore the next qualification for the manager-leader we come to, “be tested first”.

I think that this one is an interesting qualification. One can read this and assume that before becoming a manager-leader that they must be tested, and pass the test. If it were that simple then I would just say to you that you can expect to have to earn your position in leadership and leave it at that.

I don’t believe it’s that simple.

I believe there’s something that the manager-leader must carry into their position that holds true even beyond the “test” that got them there.

The first principle that I see at play here is the idea that leadership is earned. I know there are times people are placed in positions of leadership because of who they know, or some other factor. However, I believe that those are the exceptions, and that TRUE leadership is still earned.

Most importantly the manager-leader should understand that earning your leadership position doesn’t stop with getting into the role. It’s something that’s continuous. Whether it’s your job, your ministry, or even in your family, you should strive to earn your role as a leader every day.

Testing also prepares us for bigger and better things. It’s a growth opportunity, and we all need those. Encountering challenging situations is how we mature.

It’s one thing to have the knowledge about how to deal with something, but it’s something completely different to actually make it happen. As we grow and mature in our leadership, we then become able to take on bigger and better things.

I had a boss once that gave me projects that highlighted the skills I already had, but then allowed me to learn something new. Then my next project would then take it one step further, and so on. I remember thinking after a year or two of working for him that I could do so much more now than I had ever imagined. He tested me regularly, and as a result I became more skillful and capable in my role.

Testing provides us an opportunity to shine. Similar to my last point, not only do we have an opportunity to mature, but also to show off what we’ve got a little bit.

God has gifted you with some great talents, and he expects you to use them. Therefore, it’s important that you show it off a bit. Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not talking about being prideful and self-centered.

I am saying that when we shine, it should be the reflection of Him that shines off of us. It should be important to all of us to show others how awesome our God is, and one of the best ways of doing that is in rising to the occasion and displaying the skills that He has given you, and enhances in your life through His Holy Spirit. You are MORE than a conquerer (Romans 8:37, context)! You can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13, context)!

One thing that’s for certain about your future as a manager-leader is that you will be tested. But don’t look at these tests as problems or negatives in any way. Instead they’re opportunities, and should be approached as such.

Maybe part of the reason for this qualification is simply so that you expect the unexpected. And the more that you learn to deal with that, the more that you’ve earned even greater roles in leadership. What a blessing and an honor!

Questions to consider:

  • How do you view challenges today?
  • Are they problems to get rid of, or opportunities?
  • How can you seek out ways to be tested?
  • How can you ensure that once you’ve been tested that you ensure it becomes a learning or maturing experience?
  • How have you earned your leadership role today?

See more from the management by God series!


  1. Krista Burdine

    you were blessed to have a boss that worked at improving your skills. that’s the mark of a good manager. the thing is that once you move to the mgmt level in your area of knowledge, you need a different skill set, one that helps you know how to empower those you manage, to improve their skills.

    • @bibledude

      As time passes, I realize more and more that this was a pretty unique situation. But it’s one that I strive to model as I lead others today. And you are absolutely right about needing a different skill set as you move into management levels… that’s exactly why I’ve written this series! I know that I need to develop those skills, and figured that there might be others like me…

      Thanks for stopping by Krista!


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[management by God] prepare to be tested

by Dan King time to read: 4 min