Once I was in a prayer meeting with a leader I admire.

This person was the lead pastor of a large and influential church. He also chaired the board of a large and influential Christian organization. I admired this leader’s abilities, influence, and accomplishments.

My admiration of the leader grew during the meeting, but in a different way.

This leaders first prayer request was for a 16-year-old girl in his neighborhood.  He was visibly moved as he told how this teen had made some poor choices, and was facing the wrath of the adults, and many kids, in the community. His prayer request was that this young woman would know how important she was to God, and that the leader and his wife would know how to best come beside this girl and serve her.

I had gotten caught up in all the big things that this leader was doing. He showed me an even greater level of leadership. In the midst of remarkable roles and responsibilities, he was still able to notice and care for a hurting teen in his neighborhood. His greatest leadership asset was not his titles, it was his person.

After the meeting, I told him that he had just taught me an important leadership lesson with his prayer request.

He responded, “Jim, it is all about people. People are what matter. If you ever see me forget that, please shake me.”

Most of us will never have the influential roles and titles of this particular leader. However, we can all be great leaders if we are sensitive to the needs of others and attentive to how God would have us serve them.