I have not written in a while and just a few minutes ago a submitted several pieces that I had written before so it was easy to cut and paste them. Hence the reason for this particular topic today.
Many times in our lives we lose focus and somehow get out of the path that will take us from the place we find ourselves to the place we want to be. I recently attended the Leadership Summit hosted by Willow Creek Church and I would definitely recommend it to all young and old. At the summit many great leaders spoke on different topics but the theme seem to be the same, leaders are not born they are made. The steps that it takes a person to get to the level that these great men and women have attained are steps that anyone can do.
One of the things that really hit home for me were the questions, “how passionate are you with what God has placed in your hands? and how close are you with the people you serve?” As leaders we tend to correct more than we’d like to admit versus a true leader who connects with people. So I have decided to start a new journey to refocus, reinvent, and reenergize my passion for what God has currently placed in my hands and I wanted to take you with me.
You will see my shortcomings, failures, successes, victories, and the process that I will take to get from where I currently am to where I want to be. Where do I want to be? That question will be answered in the next post. So please stay tune and comments are always welcomed.
Good leaders, the best leaders, are constantly looking for an edge. They are learning whatever they can, in order to gain new insights, hear fresh perspectives, and see new opportunities. There’s a quote, often attributed to the Roman writer Seneca the Younger, that reads, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
– John Maxwell
Leadership is defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. In order to be a leader one must followers. A leader also needs to have character. Character is defined as the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone’s personality. Character is what sets good leaders apart from normal leaders. What I mean by this is that a good leader will always be trustworthy, their word is there bond, never lie even when it may end a relationship, etc. Good leaders will learn from past mistakes and experiences and will always work to keep improving themselves and learning new things constantly.
Let’s face it: when everything goes well it is easy to adopt the right attitudes and do the right things. But character is developed when we go through difficult times of suffering and testing. In fact, nothing reveals character more than difficult times. When pressures are applied to your life you will know exactly who you really are. Like a lemon, juice is only delivered when it is squeezed, you will expose your true nature when you are being tested through hard times.
Tough times reveal not only who you really are but will also provide opportunities to grow in character. Paul, writing to the believers in Rome, says: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.“(Romans 5.3-4 ESV). Knowing that God can change the difficult things in life in ways that will shape your character, Enjoy yourself in times of trouble. Too often we cry to God to relieve us of the harsh circumstances rather than asking Him to help us discern what he wants to teach us with such tests. All who pass tough times with God will see how his character is perfected.
A solid character is not the result of a moment but of a lifetime. Character is not received by the laying of hands or by attending a one-day seminar. There are no shortcuts to building good character. It takes time. When God wanted to train Moses, he took him into the desert and kept him there for forty years. Joseph worked for thirteen years as a slave before he was ready to lead a nation. David spent years as a fugitive on the run from King Saul before God considered him ready to assume the high office of King. Jesus spent three years shaping the lives of his disciples. Paul waited three years in the wilderness before God used him to lead the church.
Time and how you spend it is the key element to character building and the foundation of a great leader. How are you spending your time? What new things are you trying to learn? From whom are you trying to learn? For what purpose are you trying to learn?
Leadership is defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. In order to be a leader one must followers. A leader also needs to have character. Character is defined as the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone’s personality. What kind of leader do you aspire to be? Where would you like your leadership to take you? Who are your heroes in the Leadership Arena?
I have begun a study of how to become a more effective leader. I have been a pastor for about 4 years and have been in different roles and have had success in some areas and failed in others. After doing some deep inner reflection, I found that my failure was not due to knowledge of God’s word or to my abilities to connect with others but the hard truth is, it was due to my character. I wasn’t shady or stealing or anything negative in that sense but I was not a person of character in the sense that my word was many times broken.
As a leader, your followers will look to you guidance. But if they can’t trust you, what kind of leader are you? Trust, integrity, and humbleness were my downfall. I thank God for the second chances because I have been working in these areas. Tough to admit but the lack of these character signature in me has stunted my growth as a great leader in my church.
God is good though. He has allowed me to redeem myself and give retribution. Next time we will focus more on what God looks for vs. what men look for in a leader.
What are some of your stories? This was my honest confession.
We have all been there. Getting ready for a new job, new home, new semester at school. When you think about these things, what do you notice about the process we go through? There is a preparation stage. There is a what you do stage and there is a check or audit stage and finally an action stage. All of God’s prophets, great men and women, and leaders go through the same stages just with different outcomes.
In the story of God’s people being delivered out of Egypt, we see that there is a preparation that takes place during the journey in order for the people to go into the promised land. We notice that in that preparation none of the people who started the journey, except for Joshua and Caleb, were able to cross to the promise land. What happened? You would think that at least Moses should have been able to finish the journey of crossing over but he didn’t make it either. Many times we suffer the same outcome. During the preparation phase we falter and instead of continuing, we give up and let go of our dreams and stop following the course that God had set us on.
Now that the next generation made to the promise land, their next step was to do. They had to take care of business. God told them to conquer and that’s what they started doing. But it wasn’t just about conquering the surrounding people, it was also about conquering their own fears, insecurities, guilts, and other things that will later ignite God’s wrath due to their disobedience. Everyday we must conquer our fears, our insecurities, our weaknesses, and other things in our lives to help us get to the next level. As a great leader said in his book,”Madness – Your ability to achieve your dreams is in direct proportion to your willingness to make sacrifices”
What are you willing to sacrifice in order to obtain the preparation necessary to become the leader God has called you to be?