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Leadership as a Spiritual Gift — vs — Leadership as a Verb

EVERYBODY LEADS…

Leadership really seems to be a sensitive subject lately. I don’t know how it happened, but somewhere in the past decade, leadership and leaders have been under intense scrutiny.  There are many characteristics that come to mind when someone says the word, leader.  Is it just me, or in the past decade has something shifted in our culture that causes negative stereotypes to intrude our brains the instant we hear the word leader?

If you’d like to read a side post in regards to what are called the top 101 qualities of a leader, just click the picture below and enjoy

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 1.00.51 PM

My first sentence of this post simply states that everybody leads.  I think that most agree, leadership, in its truest definition, is simply influence.  So, in that sense, we all lead because we all influence something or someone.  With that, I want to bring about the fact that there is a difference between Leadership as a verb…which we all do, and Leadership as a Spiritual Gift, which has been given to some and not to others.  The Bible is clear about this in the letter to the Romans in chapter 12:3-8...

Many Gifts but One Body

For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

If prophecy,
use it according to the standard of one’s[b] faith;
if service, in service;
if teaching, in teaching;
if exhorting, in exhortation;
giving, with generosity;
leading, with diligence;  (“Whoomp, there it is!”) 🙂 
showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

I’m writing about this, because it has become personal to me.  By personal, I don’t mean in an offensive way, I mean in a way that has become personally obvious to me and has impacted me personally.  Since the merge of Parkway Christian Church with Christ’s Church of the Valley in 2011, I have been trying to get back into a Lead Pastor position with a local Church, anywhere in the USA, for the past 5 years and I have encountered a tragic phenomena.  I have encountered more than 30 different local churches across the country saying they are looking for their Church’s next leader/Lead Pastor to lead them into the next phases of their church life…and…as I have delved in with them, in regards to what they mean when they say LEADER, I have come to the conclusion that most really don’t want a leader, but a shepherd, or a manager, or worst case scenario, a hired hand that simply does what he is told…but in its spiritual definition…they actually do not want a leader.  They want a Leader as a Verb, but not a spiritually gifted leader.  The first is safe, the second is risky and dangerous.

Bill Hybels spoke up recently about leadership and the Church…here is a poster of what he said…

Now, please do not misunderstand me.  I am not saying that people without the spiritual gift of leadership should not lead a church.  I am simply asking us all to consider the fact that a church lead by a Leader, gifted with the Romans 12:8 spiritual gift leadership, will be a very different church than one lead by a shepherd, Teacher, Evangelist, a manager, or any other gift mix.

It seems obvious that each gift type grows a different type of fruit, and, not always but most of the time, a different size of harvest. I think many people are afraid to talk about why some churches are smaller than others.  If I could miraculously remove political correctness, insecurities, all sensitivities, and simply speak with impersonal facts…then the answer of why some churches reach mega amounts of people in a very short time, and others stay under 200 for hundreds of years, are mostly simple.

Some answers are as simple as the population of the city the church is geographically located in.  Other answers are found in a lack of strategy.  Most answers, in my opinion, are simply found in the Leadership and how he/she is spiritually gifted.  (In this setting, it would be very easy to use the parable of the talents that Jesus teaches.  Have we considered whether or not that parable could have been titled, The parable of the spiritually gifted?”   If you have time for more reading…then read the parable here and transpose the word ‘talents‘ with ‘spiritual gifts‘ and see if it makes sense. (In fact…depending on the translation, some translations use the word servants instead of the word talents.)  Here is the passage… Matthew 25:14-30

A church that is lead by a group of Elders will have a certain kind and amount of results/harvest.

A church that is lead by a shepherding gifted leader is typically going to have a smaller, very loving, intimate result/harvest.

A church that is lead by a manager-type gifted pastor will have a unique, often corporate result/harvest.

A church that is lead by a group of 5-10 high financially giving members holding the power will have a specific end-result/harvest.

A church that is lead by a teaching-gifted pastor is going to have a specific result/harvest.

They are all different.  Better or worse?  That’s for the eye of the beholder and ultimately for God to decide.

One thing that is very clear…a Church that is lead by a Leader who has the Romans 12:8 gift of Leadership is very obvious. Like it, love it, or hate it, that fact cannot be denied.

I think the passage below from Proverbs sums it up pretty well…think about it.

“Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.”  Proverbs 14:4

Our culture, for some safety reason, is afraid of strong leadership.  No doubt a strong leader will stir it up, break power controls, push us out of our comfort zones, and even sometimes make messes…but the fruit produced is tremendous.

Perry Noble said, “The size of the dream you have, is directly correlated with the amount of pain and suffering you are willing to endure.”  Solomon was right…the stable might get dirty, but wow…what a reward.

I know that we can agree that the Church is living in interesting times and facing difficult circumstances.  If Bill Hybels is right in his statement above, then there are some serious decisions that need to be made in The Church. If you are currently looking for a Lead Pastor, does your church have the courage to allow a leader, with the spiritual gift of leadership, lead you?  If so, get ready to begin an unforgettable adventure with a huge harvest of fruit on the way.


A Warning To My Enemies…

To those who have been in my way for so long…you are my enemy!  You have tried to block me, stop me, haunt me, taunt me, belittle me, embarrass me, and forget about me.

It is not working.  It will not work.  May the lyrics of the song “I Want It” by my fav band, Blue October, teach you why you have failed…and any further attempts from you, my enemy, will never succeed!

To all of you in the way
I push you aside
Flames burn down together
I refuse to ignite
I won’t walk away (that is not in me)
I’m here to stay

So I raise my hand in grace
Pray for the ones I wish I could erase
Cause we are who we are and we’ll be who we’ll be
Live for the moment and the mystery of everybody owns a scar
To show us how we got this far
Cause we are who we are and we’ll be who we’ll be
Don’t ever think you’ll take away the fight in me

I want it…
I want it more then you ever did…

Here’s to starting over
I heard you’re shutting down shop
Boy I’m taking it over
I’m never gonna stop
Here’s to the ones who said that you couldn’t win
Here’s to the crazies getting under your skin
They’re always gonna talk
But I’m never gonna stop
I won’t walk away
(I want it, crave it, bottle up and save it)
I’m here to stay
(I want it, crave it, I won’t behave I’ll turn it up more)

So I raise my hand in grace
Pray for the ones I wish I could erase
Cause we are who we are and we’ll be who we’ll be
Live for the moment and the mystery of everybody owns a scar
To show us how we got this far
Cause we are who we are and we’ll be who we’ll be
Don’t ever think you’ll take away the fight in me

I want it…
I want it more then you ever did…

In case you are wondering who my enemy is…let the Holy Word of God make it clear…know-your-enemy3

12 “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”  Ephesians 6:12

To the reader of this short blog.  Your enemies are not people! There is one thing I am positive about.  Every one of us are fighting a battle. Please make sure you are not confused as to who the real enemy is.  Kick your enemy’s butt, by wanting “it” more. Jesus is THE ultimate “IT” factor!! The devil is defeated by the power and blood of the Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ!  If Jesus lives in you…then welcome the scars…He has them too.  They make us better.  They create the story that inspires the life change in others.  Fight the good fight…never give up.

If you need to go further and read more from the Word of God, then click these passages below for further battle prep…

Ephesians 6:10-17

Romans 8:31-39

Philippians 3:12-21

Philippians 1:21

If you have other Bible passages that encourage you and strengthen you, then please add them to the comments section so that others may benefit from them too.


In search of a Church where i can best use my strengths…my wish list…

I am in search of a Church that will allow me to lead them in honoring God’s will.

I have a Wish List…If the Church isn’t committed to the point of writing this wish list as its upmost importance, then I must decline leadership in it.  I do not want to just LEAD in it…I want to incarnate it and vice versa.

The Wish List…wishlist

I want my family to be a part of a Church Body that...

1.  …is fully committed to the acknowledgment that there is no difference in our spiritual and secular lives 7 days a week.

2.  …doesn’t rely on a church building, me, or the people up front to be the primary source of growth.

3.  …will disagree well, because our common enemy is the devil, not each other.

4.  …is devoted to the restoration of people who are hungry, thirsty, lonely, or have shattered lives.

5.  …will agree that the Lord is worthy of excellence and only the excellent will be used in public worship gatherings.

6.  …has an aggressive pursuit of Health, Growth, and Love, founded in the Teachings and Commandments of Jesus Christ.

Bonus items…

Will no longer have the Lord’s Supper be a short pause with a little cracker and cup of juice during a worship service, but will meet once a week in homes and have a full supper together.  The Supper is a focused appreciation of common fellowship, Bible Application, prayer, and focus on the Lord’s body and blood.

Every member will be committed to baptizing at least one person a year with whom they have built a trusting and loving relationship with.

Every member will meet regularly with 2 other friends for accountability and prayer.

There is a Church that exists with this focus out there, and they are looking for a leader like me to join them…I just know it.  If not…I’m going to start a brand new one.


Your Greatest Battle…right now!

You will become what you are becoming right now.

You, at this very moment, are in the greatest battle you will ever wage in all your life. You are fighting for what, one day, you will become.

wagingwar

There are forces, seen and unseen, clashing for influence in your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  These forces can typically go unrecognized by you.  You might or might not feel the stress of the war being waged.  You likely won’t understand the battle until you are able to look back on the whole thing, years from now…and see what you’ve become.

You can influence this war’s result.  You can influence what you will become.  You are becoming it right now, whether you feel like it or not.  The people who have become something remarkable…the people who have become something extraordinary…they are not better than you, smarter than you, and most definitely not luckier than you.  No, they just chose to notice the battle being waged. They made a choice to influence the outcome of what they become.  They made a decision to influence the minute by minute battle waging on them, right now.

They accepted the fact that they will become what they are becoming right now.  They chose to deliberately steward what the end result would be.

What do you want to become? end-result-wide

 

Until you can answer the question above…you will be at the mercy of the consequences of the war being waged on you right now.

It’s kind of like a summer boat party that happens everyday in your town’s closest lake.  If you’ve got several friends, then the odds of you being pushed out of the boat and into the lake everyday are highly likely.  If you know you are going to get pushed into the lake everyday, then you can predetermine how you are going to respond to that spontaneous splash everyday.  When you predetermine how you are going to respond, then you will control your response when it actually happens.    fall-in-water-660x371

Everyday, you get pushed. You get pushed in areas of life way more important than boat parties and lakes.

If you don’t predetermine how you are going to respond when you get pushed, then you will be at the mercy of emotion and other external forces that want to determine how you will respond.

This is the same as your end result as a person.  What do you want to become?  Predetermine it and don’t let any other forces determine your end result.

This is easier said than done.

If you want to be a person who determines your own end result…then you can only be successful at becoming that end result when you have clearly defined the end result you desire to become. (Maybe read that again…)

What do you want to become?  Write it down.  Clearly define it. Then make minute by minute decisions that help you become it starting right now.

Maybe that is what God had in mind when He had Jesus say, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

You will become what you are becoming right now.

 

 


Thoughts – Decisions – Reputations…Oh my!

I recently tweeted out a thought that was inspired by a fiction book I’m reading called “The Noticer Returns” by Andy Andrews… “Your thinking leads to your decisions which leads to results.  These 3 work together to create your reputation.  Guard your thoughts. Phil4:8”

As I prepare to teach another year at Joy Christian High School, I will also be taking on the discipline of students as part of the administrative team.  I’m thinking that not one single student should have to be disciplined.  The choices of the student is what leads to discipline having to happen.  I say the same thing about the incarcerated.  Every prisoner made a choice that led them to be in prison. Our prisons should be empty.  What choice did that student or that prisoner have to make that landed them in prison?  They weren’t forced.  They didn’t have to make the decision that landed them in trouble.  They chose to make the decision.  They chose to be in trouble. They chose to be incarcerated.  Again, they were not forced to make a decision that resulted in trouble.

This has me thinking about why people do what they do.  

I think there are some key words we must fully define before we can implement into our lives this phrase I tweeted out, referenced above.  We must define words like Integrity, Morality, and Character.  At first glance, I think these three words all seem to be the same thing.  Below you will understand this to be quite untrue. integrity

I think Integrity at its foundation means to be capable of doing what you were created to do.  A bridge can have integrity.  A seat belt can have integrity.  The chair you sit on.  Integrity deals with trustworthiness and reliability.

morality-logoI think Morality, at its foundation, means to be a person who is doing no wrong.  A moral person will not cheat, or steal, or lie. This is a great trait, but in my striving to fully grasp my tweet, we must get very technical.  One can be a very moral person and do nothing.  I can stay in bed all day, doing nothing, and still be a moral person.

So…are you grasping with me that a person can have great integrity and morals and do nothing?   Integrity is capable. Morality is doing no wrong. Character is where the magic starts to happen.

I think Character is active.  Character is defined in action.  Character is doing the right thing.  We actively build character. Character-Building

A person of integrity can see an injustice, not get involved, and still be a moral person.

A person of morals will not do wrong.

A person of character cannot sit still and do nothing…ever. Character has a spine. Character has action.  Character will still experience fear, but pushes through it.  Character cannot sit still.

A person of character uses their capability (integrity) and righteousness (morality) to DO!

Doing what is right is a result.  Results create reputations.

I could take the negative route here and show that just because there are results doesn’t mean morality and character are present. ie…Adolf Hitler produced many results.  But…I want to focus on the positive results…aka…holiness.

Integrity = Capability.

Integrity + Morality = Capability.

Integrity + Morality – Character = Capability.

Integrity + Morality + Character = Results.

It is not a compliment to be told that I am a person of potential.  Potential means capable, but capable doesn’t equal results. A person of potential means they have integrity and morals, but lack character.  Lacking character means lacking action.

A lack of character/action, I believe, simply demonstrates how you think about yourself.

A person of great potential is a person of integrity and morals but not action.  This could mean the person thinks poorly of themselves or of their abilities.  This could mean the person has allowed the world or someone in it to influence their identity instead of Jesus.

Jesus is your identifier.  He is the one who died so you could live.  He is the one who tells you how capable you are.  He is the one who tells you how moral you can be.  He is the one who created you to be of great character, thus action.  He is the one who commanded you to “Go” & “Do”.

This is all about your thinking.

“Your thinking leads to your decisions, which leads to results.”  This all creates your reputation.

I can’t think of a more important passage to back this all up other than Philippians 4:4-8.

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Take a minute to double check the character that is splashed all over that passage.  Remember, character is action.  So look at the last four words of verse 9.  “Put it into practice.”

Put what into practice?  Your thinking…as long as that thinking is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy!

Put your thinking into character, is exactly the same as putting your thinking into action.  I suppose it could be strangely translated to say, “put your integrity and morality into character!”

Since we are in Philippians 4…I can’t help but point out verse 13…

“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

all things

Do you believe you have that much character?  Do you believe that you can do all things?  I believe you do.  Way better yet…Jesus knows you do.  He made you that way.

We all know Philippians 4:13…and it can be intimidating, because our stinking thinking many times will tell us that we cannot do all things.  The problem is that we read verse 13 and then stop.  We read it as if it says, “I can do all things.”  But it doesn’t say that!  The rest of verse 13 & 14 dilutes the individual factor.

13b “through Christ who gives me strength.” &

14 “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.”

Please note…Nothing in that verse says “I” can do all things by myself.  It says “I can do all things with Christ.”

The Apostle Paul didn’t make it just a Jesus and “I” thing.  It is clear in verse 14 that Paul and Jesus shared in Paul’s troubles with the people of the Church in Philippi.  Paul didn’t do anything by himself.  Verse 14 basically says, “thank you for sharing my troubles with me.”

They did it together.  You were never created to go it alone…in anything.  Check your thinking on this.

Your thinking matters.  Your thinking is what creates your results/reputation.  Your thinking defines your integrity and your morals.  Thinking. Integrity. Morals. Character. They matter deeply because they create results. But…

When Jesus returns…I believe He will not judge us by our results…no…He will judge us by our thoughts.

How you think…is everything…It is your thinking that leads to the character you make everyday.

 


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