If you don’t innovate, you become stale, outdated and irrelevant. The rate of change in our culture is overwhelming and whilst none of us can keep up with it, we can respond to the promptings of our own heart convictions by assessing what we are currently producing and be willing to hit the refresh button. What’s your brand, product or service? Look at it with an outsiders perspective and make changes accordingly. Stay true to principles but be willing to change preferences to engage with what’s current in the arena you are apart of. Go window shopping to discover what others in your industry are doing that’s proving to be attractive to customers. #ironprophet
Matthew 6:6 And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Our culture conditions us to look for outward signs of success, whether that be money, possessions or achievement. But these things are only one measurement of what it might look like for you to be successful. What success might look like to one person could look different to someone else. That’s why we need to come to our own conclusions about it is we are actually aiming for in life. God gives us another definition of success and that is “obedience” to the call he has given us to fulfill. Obedience is not a popular concept in a world of free will and personal autonomy but it’s an eternal concept that bears upon our future reality when we die. Our current choices have consequences both in this life and the next. Whilst people may applaud our external accomplishments the true secret to success is found in what we do away from the eyes of the world around us. No champion boxer was made in the ring but in the gym. No superstar musician was made on the stage but in the studio. From Gods perspective, it’s what we do behind the scenes, where nobody can see us, that defines who we are and what we are rewarded with. Elevate your view of success and find purpose in a relationship with God. Ultimately, we receive what we achieve based on Gods grace and our willingness to do what’s required in the secret place, when nobody is looking.
Everything in God’s creation, He created by the words of his mouth with the only exception being us. He created us by reaching down into the dirt of the earth and forming us in his image. Thus, every one of us have God’s fingerprints all over us. Dirt doesn’t seem very appealing but when you plant a seed in it, that seed will eventually produce life. God has planted seeds of blessing in every one of us. You may not be able to see the blessings God has planted on the inside of you but the seed within you has potential within it to produce life. It’s just buried at the moment. You need to water it, nurture it and have the courage to let God bring the seed forth out of the dirt of your life.
It’s been said that an academic takes something simple and makes it complex but a communicator takes something complex and makes it simple. There is way too much complexity in the world. Most of us are overwhelmed by information and more information leads to more complexity. Getting your message across to people requires you to cut through the complexity by keeping things simple and concise. The more detail, the less clear. Detail is ok for back of house but not for front of house, where people are going to see it. Jesus was a master communicator who took complex spiritual realities and tied them to everyday experiences and activities. Thus, 2000 years later, we are benefitting from the clarity Jesus lived and ministered with. Your message is too important to be unclear about it. Very few people can pull off clever and keep their message clear. Bother less about being clever and focus more on being clear. Your audience will appreciate you for it.
If there is anything I’ve become acutely aware of, as a senior pastor, is that vision requires great personal capacity. Leaders don’t just need clarity of vision or good communication skills, they need great capacity.
I haven’t met one great leader who didn’t have a deep well of capacity inside of them. It is one of the marks of a great leader. The point leader doesn’t need to know everything and doesn’t even need to be the most talented but needs to have great capacity.
God hands out dreams and visions to leaders for the benefit of Gods purpose for his people. A leader is gifted with influence to steward Gods vision and lead Gods people from where they are to where God wants them to be.
I believe that capacity is a grace God gives to leaders for their calling but it can be developed as well. I believe that increasing capacity requires an intersection of 5 key things:
1. A lifestyle of training
When I was an athlete in high school I would train every morning for 2-3hrs before school. This training gave me the capacity to perform well in competition. For the spiritual leader a lifestyle of training would include daily spiritual disciplines such as prayer, study, worship, solitude, fasting. I devote the first 3hrs of my day to training spiritually for my calling.
2. Incremental increase in responsibility
When I was a personal trainer, I would teach clients seeking to get fitter, that they must increase the resistance of the weight they were lifting or the amount of reps they were completing in order to grow stronger. If you don’t allow for incremental increases in stress in life, you won’t grow. We grow with resistance and increased responsibility stretches our capacity to lead.
3. Prioritize the main thing
My observation is that a great leader is only great at 1-2 things. Rather than being average in 5-6 things, you should devote your energy to building your capacity in 1-2 areas and become a master in it. Divide your week into 4 categories – Rest / Results / Response / Refocus. Devote chunks of time to each.
4 Find your daily rhythm
Every one of us has a natural rhythm that we need to connect to. Peak performance comes from connecting to your natural rhythm and getting into the zone each day in your work-life. Where are your energy peaks and lows each day? Do your results activities in your energy highs and your response activities in your energy lows.
5. Increase your energy
Your physical energy will have an impact on your emotional energy and mental energy. Exercise regularly and eat healthy to not just look after your body but increase your energy for life.
There is a lack of strong, healthy and Christ-centered leadership across the church, let alone across society. Romans 12:6,8 says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: the one who leads, with zeal.”
I don’t think there is a lack of strong, healthy, Christ-centered leaders because God has stopped gifting or calling people to lead but I think that there is a lack of intentionality in our church culture’s and in existing leaders to embrace, strong, healthy and Christ-centered leadership.
We need existing leaders to step up and take responsibility not only for their own leadership but for the development of future leaders. If you aren’t investing into anyone as a leader, quite simply, you’re not a leader. Leadership by position, knowledge or talent alone doesn’t imply leadership is being exercised. There is a leadership vacuum in our society because people have equated leadership with position, perks and power rather than humility, capacity and sacrifice. Leaders move people from where they are to where they need to be or in a Christian sense, “where God wants them to be.”
Let me tell you, if anything significant happens anywhere in any tribe, it will be because of a catalytic change agent who leads the charge and makes something happen. Leaders, get clear on what you want and more importantly what God wants and start to lead the church, ministry or organization accordingly. Leaders, we need you!