I recently was invited to an advance screening of the new Christian movie Paul: Apostle Of Christ. Paul: Apostle Of Christ shares the last days of Paul as he and Luke spend time together in Mamertine Prison and Luke writes down Paul’s story.
Paul: Apostle Of Christ is a moving story for any Christian and could be a powerful tool to introduce others to Christ and His love for them. I highly recommend you check out this great new Christian movie.
Not only will you find faith and hope in Paul: Apostle Of Christ, you will take away many leadership lessons from Paul: Apostle Of Christ.
Caution: Paul: Apostle Of Christ spoilers below.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Paul: Apostle Of Christ
1. Bad leaders place blame on the wrong people:
Paul: Apostle Of Christ takes place around 67 A.D. At this time, Rome was set ablaze.
Flames were scorching the city of Rome. Buildings and homes were destroyed. People died…
And Emperor Nero found someone to place the blame on: Paul of Taron (James Faulkner). Nero sentenced Paul to death by beheading because of the fires.
Though that’s not the real reason. Nero wanted to wipe Christianity off of the face of the earth. He needed a scapegoat and Paul was his man.
When things go wrong, you have to seek out the truth. You can’t blame innocent people or team members.
Be willing to find the parties responsible without blaming those who had no part.
2. Luke The Physician:
I had to wait at the gates longer than expected.
Luke The Physician (Jim Caviezel) traveled to Rome to meet with the underground Christian movement and to talk with Paul. On his journey, Luke was held up at the gate. He was delayed.
Delays are frustrating. They push back our plans and vision. They put leaders in a time crunch.
However, delays are part of leading any organization. You’re going to face delays and setbacks.
Don’t let that stop you from leading. When delays hit, look for ways to recover time or shift timelines.
3. Be grateful:
When Luke arrived in Rome, he met with Aquila (John Lynch) who was shepherding the Christians in Rome. Luke brought Aquila a small offering.
Aquila was very grateful for the money Luke had given him. Even if the offering was small. He was thankful and let Luke know it.
As a leader, you have a lot to be grateful for. You have responsibility and respect. You have a steady income. And you have influence.
Be grateful for what you have, even if what you have isn’t much.
4. Roman Soldier:
I expected more…
Luke encountered a Roman soldier who didn’t think much of him. The soldier had expected somebody bigger or stronger or more imposing than Luke.
This Roman soldier underestimated Luke. His mind had a picture of one thing and Luke was another.
Leaders can often underestimate what their teams can do. They look at them and see a ragtag bunch and believe they can’t do much.
Don’t be like the Roman soldier. Don’t judge your team by their looks. They’re more skilled than you give them credit for.
5. Great leaders inspire loyalty:
Paul had been imprisoned by Emperor Nero in Mamertine Prison. He was under guard and wasn’t allowed any visitors.
Luke and the Christians in Rome were loyal to Paul. They believed in the message he shared and wanted to see him set free.
Paul’s fate wasn’t to be set free. Yet Luke broke into Mamertine Prison to visit with Paul during his imprisonment. He shared with Paul how he longed to be a prisoner with him. He would be there and suffer with him if he could.
Paul’s work and character inspired loyalty far beyond most will ever receive these days. But you can still inspire loyalty.
You can treat your team fair. You can reward great performance. And you can show your team you care.
6. Great leaders encourage their teams to have discernment:
Aquila and Priscilla (Joanne Whalley) wanted Paul to give them insight into what they should do next. Should they stay in Rome or should they flee the city?
Instead of giving them instructions one way or the other, Paul told them to seek God’s discernment.
The pair were startled when they heard Paul’s advice. They thought he would tell them exactly what to do. Paul knew his time was short and the people he had previously led would need to start doing things for themselves. So, he encouraged them to do what he did. To seek God’s discernment.
You won’t be able to lead forever. You will be replaced at some point. So, you need to start teaching and encouraging your team to seek discernment.
Let your people seek our God and His wisdom. Let them listen and hear. Then hear them out and help them discern what needs to be done.
You can inspire their faith.
Great leaders inspire the faith of other people. Faith in God and faith in themselves. Be a leader who inspires others to their God-given greatness.
What are you doing to inspire people to believe? Find ways to be the inspiration your team needs.
As Paul has said, we must all make our own decisions.
Aquila and Priscilla were debating whether to stay or go from Rome. This was a difficult decision because of their love for Rome, their home, and the people there.
The pair disagreed on whether or not to stay. Aquila wanted to leave. Priscilla wanted to stay.
In the end, she told Aquila this by the above quote from Paul: Apostle Of Christ. She knew she had to make her own decision. The decision to stay or go couldn’t be from anyone else.
You’re going to have to make decisions that are unpopular. Then you’re going to have to stand next to them. You’re going to have to own your decisions.
Don’t be afraid of making a decision and standing by it. You have the wisdom to do so.
9. Great leaders communicate:
You already know Aquila and Priscilla disagreed on the choice to stay or go. They didn’t keep this thought between the two of them. Rather, they were transparent with the people they led and communicated the situation ahead.
They had a choice to make. They wanted to let their people know what the choices were. And they didn’t want to hide the fact that they were having difficulties deciding on what should be done.
There’s a lot to learn from this scene. Aquila and Priscilla clearly communicated with the people they led. They didn’t hide the facts or their fears. They shared freely.
Great leaders do this. Great leaders communicate.
They communicate appropriate business happenings and situations with their teams. They inform them of what’s going on and ask for input.
Are you communicating to your team? What’s stopping you?
10. Every decision has positive and negative consequences:
The choice to stay in or leave Rome was weighed by the pros and cons of what it meant to leave.
Aquila and Priscilla offered their ideas. Some of the pros were:
No longer under the tyrannical rule of Emperor Nero.
A safer community away from the threat of harm
Some of the cons were:
Leaving Rome, the city many of them have known their whole life
Abandoning family and friends
Staying or leaving had positive and negative consequences. They had to weigh out which one would be best.
You’re going to be faced with decisions that require you to weigh the positive and negative consequences of your choices. Be willing to look at the pros and cons and make a decision from there.
11. Female Christian:
Trust in God to lead the way.
The community of Christians in Rome was still disagreeing over what to do. To leave, to stay, to fight… What should they do?
A young, Christian woman spoke up and said to trust God and let Him lead the way.
Wise Christian leaders know they have to trust in God to lead the way. They don’t have all the answers but He does.
Allow yourself to trust in God. Let him show you the way.
12. Great leaders regret their bad decisions:
Paul wasn’t always a good guy. In fact, he was quite nasty. When Paul was not a Christian, he was known as Saul of Tarsus and he persecuted Christians.
He hunted down those who followed The Way and made them pay with their lives. He had lots of blood on his hands.
Through multiple flashbacks and dream sequences in Paul: Apostle Of Christ, you see Paul wrestling and regretting the decisions he’d made in the past.
He wasn’t proud of those moments. He knew he had done wrong. And he was regretting what he had done.
When you make mistakes, don’t savor them. Know they were bad decisions and make peace with your decisions.
13. Great leaders move on from their bad decisions:
While Paul regretted his previous lifestyle, he didn’t stay in those decisions. He moved forward making better and wiser decisions. He began to do what was right.
You will have a choice. You can stay in your bad decisions. Or you can move forward and begin doing what is right.
Choose what is right and move on.
Your grace if sufficient.
Paul was struggling with his bad decisions. The dreams haunted his sleep. But he knew there was a way to get past all of it. God’s grace.
God’s grace sustained and helped Paul get through his previous life. He was able to continue living because of God and the grace he provided.
Leadership is hard. You need grace. God is willing to give you grace. Grace that sustains.
Accept God’s gift. Allow His grace to fill your life and leadership.
Evil can only be overcome by love.
Paul shared a great truth. You can’t defeat evil or deceit or hate with more of the same. The only thing that overcomes evil is love.
As a leader, you’re going to have an opportunity to repay evil with evil or to be a bigger man and choose to love those who have hated and despised you.
You can choose love. It won’t always feel good. Choosing love will be right the thing to do, though.
16. Leave a legacy:
Luke continued to visit Paul in the prison. During those visits, Luke documented Paul’s journey from Saul to Paul.
This documentation became Paul’s legacy. Almost 2,000 years later and those words are still being read and followed.
Now, that’s a legacy.
Have you thought of the legacy you’re leaving? Begin planning out how you want the world to remember you. Work towards leaving a legacy you would be proud of.
17. Bad leaders can become good (or even great) leaders:
Along the Damascus Road, Saul (Paul’s old name) had an encounter with Jesus of Nazareth. This changed his life forever.
No longer would Saul persecute Christians. He would become one. And lead others to become Christians themselves.
Saul became Paul. And in the process became a leader worth following. If people had seen him previously, they wouldn’t have believed the change was possible. It was and is.
If you started off leading on the wrong foot, know you can change. You can go from being a bad leader to a good leader to a great leader.
Be willing to change. Be willing to become better. And be willing to leave your past behind.
18. Have 3 AM friends:
Paul spent a lot of time in prison. He could have become discouraged and disgruntled. He didn’t.
And there’s a reason for that. He had a 3 AM friend. That friend was Luke.
Luke had an unwavering commitment to Paul. While he couldn’t always be with him, Luke was with Paul when he could be.
Do you have any friends like Paul? A friend who is unwavering in their commitment to you?
If you don’t, you need to find a friend like Luke. Find someone who’s willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as you go through the mess of life and leadership.
19. You will look back on bad days and not want to change them:
Luke and Paul had been through a lot together. During one of their visits, the two recall some of the worst days of their lives. They were bad, miserable days… Yet, in the end, they wouldn’t change them for anything.
Those bad days strengthened and built up Luke and Paul. Through the trials and tribulations, they became the men they were destined to be.
Your bad days will do the same for you. As you move through the bad, miserable days of leadership, know there are better days ahead. Days you’ll smile upon. Heck, you might even smile on those miserable days as well.
20. Your weakness allows God’s strength to be seen:
Paul knew he had weaknesses. And he boasted in those weaknesses.
Why? Because his weaknesses allowed God’s strength to be seen. God was able to carry him while his strength failed.
When you struggle with your weakness, don’t pray for them to be taken away. Instead, pray God will shine through. That His strength will pick up where your weakness fails.
All men are a slave to something.
While in prison, Paul was told by Roman soldiers they weren’t slaves. Paul knew the truth though. All men are slaves to something.
Either you’re a slave to Christ or you’re a slave to the world. Those are your choices.
22. Selfish actions hurt more than you:
Cassius (Alessandro Sperduti) was a young Christian who wanted to overthrow Nero by force. In one brash moment, he gathered others and stormed the prison. These men killed prison guards and injured others.
Their attack impacted and hurt more than their lives. Their actions hurt the community of Christians they were a part of.
Whenever you act, think through how those actions will impact the people in your organization, family, and circle of friends. Your actions impact more than you. They impact everyone around you.
They will know us by our love.
Paul urged Christ followers to allows show love. Through persecution and discrimination, be a person who loves.
This is the way people will know you are a Christian. It’s also how people will know you are a Christian leader.
Be willing to show love through all things.