20 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves At The End Of Each Year

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As a leader, I am always on the search for powerful questions that can unlock the door to new levels of personal and professional growth for myself and others. The right question asked at the right time can be the difference between grand new possibilities in life and more of the same old stale stuff in life. And because it is the end of an old year and the beginning of a new year, I am especially open to seeking, finding, and asking some new questions that will unleash extraordinary new possibilities for myself and others in the new year.

We Have Not Because We Ask Not

The Bible says in James 4:2 that, “we have not, because we ask not”; therefore, as we begin this new year, let us ask ourselves and others the right questions that can lead us into greater levels of personal and professional excellence in the new year. To help us do just that, I discovered 20 questions that every leader should ask themselves at the end of each year so they can be better prepared to grow in the new year. These 20 questions were initially found on Paul Sohn’s blog at http://paulsohn.org/20-questions-to-help-you-reflect-the-past-year/  and then I slightly modified the list as follows:

20 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves At The End Of Each Year

  1. What activities made you lose track of time last year?
  2. What accomplishments did you achieve this past year that deserve a “pat on the back”?
  3. Which areas of life did you thrive in this past year (e.g. spiritual, physical, mental, relational, emotional, financial, vocational)?
  4. Which areas of life did you struggle in this past year (e.g. spiritual, physical, mental, relational, emotional, financial, vocational)?
  5. If someone made a film about your life this past year, what kind of film would it be: (e.g. comedy, romance, drama, horror, action, adventure, sci-fy, documentary)?
  6. Where and how did God work most in your life this past year?
  7. If you had to describe the past year in 3 words, what would they be?
  8. What was your most common mental state this past year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed, anxious, worried, reflective)?
  9. What was the best book you read this past year that had the greatest influence in your personal and/or professional growth?
  10. What was your favorite place that you visited this past year?
  11. What was your single biggest time waster this past year?
  12. What was the most productive use of your time this past year?
  13. For what or whom in your life this past year are you most thankful?
  14. If you could redo this past year, what would you do differently?
  15. What did you think about more than anything else in the past year?
  16. What topics did you most enjoy learning about this past year?
  17. What was your overall feeling about life this past year (e.g. happy, sad, angry, afraid, ashamed)?
  18. What was your favorite compliment that you received this past year?
  19. What was the best compliment that you gave to another person this past year?
  20. What was the most important lesson you learned this past year?

By asking yourself these questions each year, I believe you will learn new things about yourself from the past year that will better prepare you for growth and new possibilities in the new year. So go ahead and do it…ask yourself these powerful questions and encourage others to do the same.

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

20 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves At The End Of Each Year Copyright 2015, The Make It Happen Learning Institute. You have permission to reprint the leadership article, 20 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves At The End Of Each Year, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission. All other rights reserved.

4 Jewels Of Leadership Development

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Jewels

I’ve learned from reading Dr. Crawford Loritt’s book titled, Leadership As An Identity, that there are 4 jewels of God’s leadership development school that He uses to develop leaders in His kingdom. Because a person learns 95 percent of what they teach, I am excited to teach you these 4 jewels of leadership development in this post. The dictionary defines a jewel as, “a precious possession”; however, most people would not naturally consider these 4 aspects of God’s leadership development school as precious possessions. But they are because each one helps to build the character of Christ in us as leaders in His kingdom.

Jewel #1: Personal Suffering

The first precious jewel of God’s leadership development school is called PERSONAL SUFFERING. Yes, God uses suffering in our lives to help us become more like Jesus and to develop radical obedience in our lives. To know Christ is to also know His suffering. To share in the glory of Christ, we must also share in the suffering of Christ where our wills are crucified to His will in every circumstance that we face in life. In Hebrews 5:8, the Bible says that even though Jesus was the Son of God, He learned obedience by the things He suffered and guess what. God’s people learn obedience the same way. The apostle Paul says it this way in Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Christ and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering.” We must not despise the seasons of suffering in our lives because those seasons bring us into deeper fellowship with our Lord and Savior and make us more effective for His use in the kingdom of God.

Jewel #2: Personal Struggle

The second precious jewel of God’s leadership development school is called PERSONAL STRUGGLE. While personal struggle may seem to be closely related to personal suffering, it is a very different precious jewel of God’s leadership development school. While personal suffering helps us learn radical obedience to God, personal struggle helps us learn radical dependence upon God. Personal suffering occurs during periods of time that are seasonal in our lives; whereas, personal struggle occurs in our lives on a daily basis which requires our total dependence upon God’s grace every day to overcome the struggle. The Bible says that the people of God are overcomers which means that they must have something to overcome. The personal struggles that we face on a daily basis serve as reminders that we can only overcome the struggles by the power of God’s grace in our lives and our radical dependence upon Him. In 2 Corinthians 12:8, the apostle Paul asked God three times to take away a personal struggle and God told Him that His grace was sufficient for him in the struggle. Our personal daily struggles keep us radically dependent upon God and humble in our weakness before Him.

Jewel #3: Personal Failure

The third precious jewel of God’s leadership development school is PERSONAL FAILURE. When I think about personal failure, I like what John Maxwell teaches about it – “personal failure is not final and it’s not fatal.” In fact, a healthy way to think about personal failure is the way Henry Ford would approach personal failure – “as an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” God uses personal failure as a precious jewel in His leadership development school because everyone fails in life. The truth is that we all fail in life and must learn from our failures if we have any hope of being effective in God’s purpose for our life. Every great hero of faith in the Bible experienced personal failure. To name a few: Noah drank too much alcohol one night, Moses murdered a man in cold blood, and David committed adultery with his neighbor. There is no one who has ever lived on earth except Jesus, the Son of God, whose life is not marked by personal failure. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We all fall short which is why everyone, without exception, needs Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life. And even after salvation, we will all still fall short in life at times through personal failure. However, in Christ, our personal failure is never a tombstone for us with God. If we respond correctly to our personal failures, our personal failures can rather be a stepping stone into greater communion with God because His love for us never fails even though we do. The Bible states in Proverbs 24:16, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.” Failure can never keep down a person who truly loves God and has faith in Christ because the Bible says in Philippians 4:13 that “we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.” Without question, “all things” includes the overcoming of our personal failures in life.

Jewel #4: Success Through Hard Work

The fourth and final precious jewel of God’s leadership development school is SUCCESS THROUGH HARD WORK. I’ve heard it said that the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. I agree 100 percent with this statement. There is no success in life without the hard work that accompanies accomplishment of any kind. The same is true in the kingdom of God. In Colossians 3:23-24, the apostle Paul says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” God honors hard work done with passion because the quality of our work brings honor to the Lord when we are called by His name and do our work as worship unto Him.

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

4 Jewels Of Leadership Development Copyright 2014, The Make It Happen Learning Institute. You have permission to reprint the leadership article, 4 Jewels Of Leadership Development, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission. All other rights reserved.

3 Reasons Why Jesus Would Attend The Global Leadership Summit

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The SummitAs a promotional strategist of the Global Leadership Summit for Church of the King in the Gulf Coast Region, I have asked myself this simple question:

If Jesus was living on earth today, would He attend the Global Leadership Summit?

Well, after much thought, I have come to the conclusion that if Jesus was living on earth today, He would indeed attend the Global Leadership Summit for the following three reasons, (although I am quite certain there are many more reasons than just these three):

Reason 1: Jesus was a tomorrow-thinker

When Jesus walked the earth, He was always thinking about the future – the future for the Church, the future for His disciples, the future for you and me. He never focused on the past as He came to make all things new in us and through us. One day while thinking about the future for His disciples, He told them in John 14:2-3, “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come again and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”

Because Jesus was more concerned about the future than the past, He took advantage of every opportunity in the present to build a brighter future for you and me. As a result, if Jesus was living on earth today, He would attend the Global Leadership Summit because the Summit challenges leaders to think about tomorrow and build a brighter future for others.

Reason 2: Jesus educated the people He mentored

When Jesus walked the earth, He knew that His mission could not be fulfilled without teaching His followers the principles of His kingdom. To do so, He spent hours teaching His followers the principles of the kingdom of God. Give and it shall be given to you, serve others to be great, and die to self to find life, are a just few of the many kingdom principles that Jesus taught His followers while He was with them on earth. In Luke 11:1, the Bible records the account of when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. “Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As He finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Whether it was teaching his disciples how to pray, how to heal, how to give, how to love, how to have faith, or how to make disciples, Jesus was always educating the people He mentored.

Because Jesus knew that people would learn what they teach, He taught His disciples to teach others and make disciples as well. Proverbs 9:9 commands teachers to, “Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous and they will learn even more.” As a result, if Jesus was living on earth today, He would attend the Global Leadership Summit because the Summit helps to instruct the wise so they can become wiser and it helps to teach the righteous so they can learn even more.

Reason 3: Jesus never tried to succeed alone

When Jesus walked the earth, He did not walk alone nor try to achieve success by Himself. Jesus knew that His mission was bigger than Himself so He called others to walk with Him and help Him achieve success. “One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers – Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew – throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people.’” Matthew 4:18-19 NLT

Because Jesus valued people, He gave people an opportunity to join Him in accomplishing His mission. The truth is that Jesus needed others with like-minded hearts and passion to help Him change the world and do what the Father asked Him to do. As a result, if Jesus was living on earth today, He would attend the Global Leadership Summit because the Summit gathers leaders from all over the world with like-minded hearts and passion to change the world and do what the Father has asked us to do.

Don’t miss God and don’t miss an appointment with Jesus at the Summit!

Now that I have shared the three reasons why Jesus would attend the Global Leadership Summit, I want to highly encourage you to make plans to attend the Summit this year. I can promise you that you will not be disappointed! In fact, I will go as far to say that even though Jesus will not be there in bodily person, I can assure you that He will be there in Spirit person. Bill Hybels, Founder of the Global Leadership Summit, and the Willow Creek Association Team have been in prayer seeking God for each Summit speaker whom God has lined-up to speak this year. As a result of their earnest prayers and the earnest prayers of many others, I am confident each Summit speaker will be anointed by the Lord and His presence will be felt and experienced at each of the Summit sessions. I know this to be true because it has been true for each of the four prior Summits that I have personally attended. For a brief video introduction of the Speakers for the 2014 Global Leadership Summit, please click Speaker Introductions.

In closing, let me strongly encourage you…don’t miss God and don’t miss an appointment with Jesus at the Global Leadership Summit this year! For more information on how you can participate in the Summit on August 14th and 15th at any Church of the King campus in the Gulf Coast Region, please Click 2014 Summit.

Thank you and have a blessed Make It Happen day!

 

 

100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership

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Powerful QuestionAs a leader, I have learned that one simple question, asked at the right time, has the power to change a life when someone exercises the courage to honestly answer the question. I believe that powerful questions can often times provide the keys to unlock closed doors, unleash new worlds of discovery and adventure, and ignite tremendous growth in people’s life and leadership.

Therefore, I have compiled 100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership which I pray will be a powerful resource for your personal growth as well any other people that you lead. As a practical resource for growth, please feel free to read them, ask them, answer them, use them, and share them in any way you like.

100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership

  1. How do you want to be remembered in life?
  2. Who are your core trusted advisors?
  3. What has God been doing in your life lately?
  4. What are your greatest leadership strengths?
  5. What are your greatest leadership weaknesses?
  6. What activities replace the energy you expire relationally, physically, mentally, and spiritually?
  7. What are your top 3 to 5 personal goals?
  8. What are your top 3 to 5 professional goals?
  9. If you could achieve one personal goal that would make your life better, what would it be?
  10. What is the greatest limitation or barrier to achieving your top goal?
  11. What “Well Dones” have you desired and NOT achieved in life?
  12. How does that make you feel?
  13. Will you allow me to give you some guidance in that area?
  14. How full are your emotional, physical, and spiritual tanks?  Empty, quarter, half, full?
  15. What theme does God seem to be emphasizing in this season of your life?
  16. What are you looking for God to do in your life during the next 6 months?
  17. When was the last time you became angry and why?
  18. What are your most compulsive bad habits?
  19. How do you intend to break your harmful bad habits?
  20. What has God been saying to you through His Word recently?
  21. What passion is God stirring in your soul?
  22. What season best describes your spiritual life right now: winter, summer, spring, fall?
  23. What’s exciting you most in your spiritual journey these days?
  24. How will you measure progress in your personal and professional life?
  25. What does personal and professional success look like for you?
  26. Who is the one person in your life who has helped to make you who you are today?
  27. What is the most risky decision you ever made in your life?
  28. What is the one thing you like the best about yourself?
  29. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  30. What is the one character quality you value most in a person?
  31. What did you always want to be when you were young?
  32. Who is your favorite biblical hero of faith and why?
  33. Where do you expect to be living 20 years from now?
  34. Suppose you only had 6 months to live, what would you do with your time?
  35. What person in life do you feel the closest to and why?
  36. When was the last time you cried in front of another person?
  37. When was the last time you cried by yourself?
  38. What has been your biggest disappointment in life?
  39. What has been your biggest failure in life?
  40. What will you be when you grow up?
  41. What was it like growing up in your family?
  42. As a child, how was your relationship with your mom?
  43. As a child, how was your relationship with your dad?
  44. What percentage of your time do you spend on business, personal, and family time?
  45. What have you learned from your greatest success in life?
  46. What have you learned from your greatest failure in life?
  47. If you could invite any 5 people (living or dead) to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
  48. If you knew you were going to die today, what would you most regret?
  49. What are your personal expectations of your family members?
  50. What are your professional expectations of your business associates?
  51. What person in life do you admire most and why?
  52. What would be the perfect evening for you?
  53. What is your most treasured memory?
  54. Have you ever felt or experienced hate in your life?
  55. Have you ever felt or experienced unconditional love in your life?
  56. When was the last time that you were personally involved in a conflict?
  57. How was your last personal conflict resolved?
  58. For what in life do you feel most grateful?
  59. When was the last time that you felt powerless in your life?
  60. What are the God-centered ambitions in your life?
  61. What are the self-centered ambitions in your life?
  62. Who has been your most influential example of godly leadership?
  63. What are the greatest honorable ambitions in your life?
  64. Will you forgive me?
  65. Who in your life do you need to forgive?
  66. What was the low point of your life last week?
  67. What was the high point of your life last week?
  68. Do you have a written plan for your life?
  69. What is holding you back from writing a personal life plan?
  70. As a leader, what do you stand for?
  71. How can I best serve you?
  72. When was the last time you had a WOW experience?
  73. Where is your favorite place to be alone with God?
  74. What compelling God-centered ambitions do you have for your business?
  75. What compelling God-centered ambitions do you have in serving God?
  76. How well do you maintain self-control when things go wrong?
  77. How well do you handle criticism?
  78. When was the last time you profited from criticism?
  79. What can you do to turn your disappointments into creative new opportunities?
  80. Do people trust you with difficult and delicate matters?
  81. Can you accept opposition to your viewpoint or decision without taking offense?
  82. How well do you cultivate friendships?
  83. Can you hold steady in the face of disapproval and temporary loss of confidence from others?
  84. Do other people’s failures annoy or challenge you?
  85. Do you direct people or develop people?
  86. Do you shun or seek the person with a special need or problem?
  87. Do you more often criticize or more often encourage people?
  88. Who do you say Jesus is?
  89. If you met Jesus today, what would you say to Him?
  90. What are the obstacles that keep you from praying?
  91. When was the last time that you felt rejected?
  92. If you were stranded on an island, what 3 books or magazines would you most desire?
  93. If you were granted a wish and could instantly and permanently acquire one leadership quality, what would it be?
  94. If your reading highlights were turned over to a psychologist for character analysis, what would they conclude about you?
  95. How long does it take you to overcome the feeling of failure?
  96. What do you do or where do you go for renewal from fatigue?
  97. What changes in your life have been difficult for you in the past year?
  98. How do you deal with people who believe they are never wrong?
  99. How can you better direct your energies to do the work God has for you to do on earth?
  100. As you look back, how have you seen God at work in your life preparing you for leadership?

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership Work Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, 100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

The Power Of Transformational Leadership

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Transformational LeadershipI’ve heard it said that anything healthy is growing and I believe that statement to be true. Healthy things grow and if they are growing well, they are reproducing and multiplying. In fact, everything God created, He created with the power to reproduce and multiply itself.

Transformational Leadership Is God’s Idea

Regarding animals, Genesis 1:21-22 states, “So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.’”

Regarding human beings, Genesis 1:27-28 states, “So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.’”

And lastly God even states in Genesis 1:29 that He has given human beings every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for food which means that even the plants and fruit trees have God’s creative reproductive power to grow and multiply. Therefore, it should be no surprise that apples reproduce apples, geese reproduce geese, fish reproduce fish, and people reproduce people. And I want to go one step further: leaders reproduce leaders and servant leaders reproduce servant leaders in God’s kingdom. This kind of heart conviction among servant leaders on a team demonstrates the power of transformational leadership through a multiplication team value. John Maxwell observes and further teaches that leaders teach what they know, but they reproduce who they are. That’s why servant leaders in the kingdom of God become servant leaders like our Lord Jesus Christ and then reproduce other servant leaders in His kingdom.

Transformational Leadership Serves People

In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus called His disciples together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  This statement by Jesus is a powerful life transformational statement. He is saying that if we are going to be like Him and lead like Him, we must be different than the cultural leaders of the world. We must become like Jesus leading others by serving them and selflessly giving our lives for them. When we do this well, the kingdom of God begins to grow and multiply because the people and cultures around us become open to the life transforming message of the gospel when they see it actually working in us.

So let me state it again. Leaders in the kingdom of God are servant leaders who reproduce servant leaders in the kingdom of God. As such, servant leaders in the kingdom of God are powerful transformational leaders who multiply themselves and their kingdom impact in the community, region, and world around them.

Transformational Leadership Multiplies Leaders

Do you know that there is a big difference between being a transformational leader and being a transactional leader? Leadership that multiplies growth is transformational leadership; whereas, leadership that merely adds growth is transactional leadership. Let me illustrate with simple math how multiplied growth is transformational and additive growth is really more transactional than transformational.

2x2x2x2x2x2x2=128 whereas 2+2+2+2+2+2+2=14. If this represents a community of 128 people, the initial two transformational leaders who reproduce themselves and then teach the reproduced leaders to also reproduce themselves once each year, the entire community of 128 people would be completely reached and transformed in 7 short years. However, in contrast, if the those initial two leaders were only transactional leaders where they merely reproduced themselves once each year, but did not teach the reproduced leaders to also reproduce themselves, it would take 64 years to reach the entire community of 128 people. This is why transformational leadership is so powerful: transformational leaders reproduce and multiply other transformational leaders.

In 2 Timothy 2:2, the apostle Paul tells Timothy, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” As each servant leader in the kingdom of God follows this command of Scripture, sharing the Good News of the Gospel and teaching others to do the same, our community, region, and world will be completely transformed by the kingdom of God in a very short time.

As transformational leaders in God’s kingdom, we must always be reproducing ourselves and teaching others to reproduce themselves as well. Think about it! Everything God created, He created with the ability to reproduce and powerfully multiply itself. His awesome creative power is placed in all of His creation in the form of a seed that can be exponentially multiplied and His covenantal promise to us is that for as long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest shall not cease. This means that you and I have the awesome privilege and tremendous responsibility to continually and consistently reproduce ourselves in the kingdom of God until the day He returns. Together, as you and I grow ourselves and multiply ourselves as servant leaders like Jesus, our transformational impact in the lives of the people and the communities we serve is and will continue to be colossal.

Transformational Leadership Transforms Culture

A simple and practical 3 step multiplication strategy for multiplying servant leaders in the kingdom of God and completely transforming the culture for Christ is as follows:

1)      Discover servant leaders in the kingdom of God

2)      Develop servant leaders in the kingdom of God

3)      Deploy servant leaders in the kingdom of God

Regardless of our individual spheres of leadership influence, as servant leaders in God’s kingdom, if we discover servant leaders, develop servant leaders, and deploy servant leaders, God’s kingdom will grow beyond our wildest imaginations and the culture around us will be powerfully transformed for God’s glory!

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Transformational Leadership Copyright 2013, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Transformational Leadership, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part Two

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PraisingWhen we study the New Testament, we find that Spiritual Leadership combines two cups of leadership in the kingdom of God: a Spiritual Cup and a Leadership Cup. The Spiritual Cup entails exemplary living as a born-again child of God and the Leadership Cup entails the equipping of God’s people to do His work. As spiritual leaders in God’s kingdom, we are to become more like Jesus in exemplary living every day as we do what He has called us to do in the equipping of His people to do His work.

The Spiritual Cup Of Exemplary Living – Who We Become in Christ

In 1 Timothy 4:11-13, Paul tells Timothy, “Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.” The Spiritual Cup of spiritual leadership pours into others from who we are in Christ. We live as an example to others by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives inside us. Through Christ in us, we become more like Him as the Holy Spirit teaches us all things and leads us into all truth.

The Leadership Cup Of Equipping Others – What We Do In Christ

In Ephesians 4:11-13, Paul tells the believers in Ephesus, “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” The Leadership Cup of spiritual leadership pours into others from what we do in Christ. We equip others to do God’s work in the earth as His ambassadors on the earth. While Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords sitting at the right hand of the Father, it has always been God’s plan to empower His creation to carry out His will on earth by His authority given to redeemed men and women in Christ.

As spiritual leaders in the kingdom of God, who we become in Christ and what we do in Christ are equally important. In fact, we find this spiritual leadership pattern in the kingdom of God represented in Christ all throughout the Bible by the person of Jesus and the principles of Jesus. To be an impactful spiritual leader in God’s kingdom, we must not only know Jesus personally, but we must also do what He says to do by living out His principles such as:

  • Give and it shall be given to you
  • Lose your life to save your life
  • Serve others to be the greatest
  • Pray for those who persecute you
  • Forgive and be forgiven

In John 14:15-17, Jesus tells His disciples, “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.” Spiritual leaders in the kingdom of God know Jesus and obey Him because the Holy Spirit lives inside us and teaches us how to live out His principles in life.

The Imperative For Developing Spiritual Leaders

As a young leader, the COO of our organization told me early in my professional life that I had to prepare myself to grow and lead in an environment with significant growth.  Additionally, I was encouraged that if I heeded that instruction, I too would enjoy the opportunity of personally growing the same way within the organization. In response to that instruction, I continued developing myself as a leader within the organization.

As a result, in 10 short years I went from being a Director of 3 teams, to an Administrator of a Clinic Division, to a VP of a consolidated Hospital and Clinic Division, to an SVP of a Central Business Office operation for 7 Hospitals and more than 700 Physicians, to a Chief Operating Officer of 7 different operating divisions. From the age of 30 to the age of 40, my leadership responsibilities grew from leading 45 people to leading over 1,000 people in my direct sphere of leadership influence because I was willing to learn, grow, and develop as a leader as well as equip others to learn, grow, and develop as leaders.

The reason I share this story is because the kingdom of God is experiencing significant growth in these last days and we must appropriately prepare ourselves as spiritual leaders in God’s kingdom if we intend to effectively steward the harvest of souls entrusted to us by the Lord. This means that spiritual leaders have to become better leaders and must effectively equip more leaders for the work of the ministry in God’s kingdom. The stakes are high and if we are not prepared for the growth, we will be at significant risk of ministry overload and personal burnout, even as spiritual leaders in God’s kingdom.

The Development Process For Spiritual Leaders

In order to effectively develop spiritual leaders in God’s kingdom for sustainability in their personal and professional lives, spiritual leaders must have a Personal Excellence Plan derived from a written Life Plan and a Professional Excellence Plan derived from a written Business Plan. The Personal Excellence Plan focuses on important leadership development aspects of the leader’s personal life such as the character development of the leader and the chemistry development of the leader within his or her team. The Professional Excellence Plan focuses on important leadership development aspects of the leader’s professional life such as the culture development of the leader and the competency development of the leader within his or her team.

A Personal Excellence Plan Supports Character Development And Chemistry Development In A Spiritual Leaders’s Personal Life

The Character Development of a leader builds the Spiritual Cup of a leader on a personal level. A good Personal Excellence Plan seeks to answer Spiritual Cup questions such as: 

  1. Who are you becoming when no one is looking?
  2. How are you becoming more like Christ each day in your personal life?

The Chemistry Development of a leader builds the Leadership Cup of a leader on a personal level. A good Personal Excellence Plan seeks to answer Leadership Cup questions such as:

  1. What are your personal leadership gifts and talents given to you by God?
  2. How will you personally use your gifts and talents to glorify God and benefit others?

A Professional Excellence Plan Supports Culture Development And Competency Development In A Spiritual Leader’s Professional Life

The Culture Development of a leader builds the Spiritual Cup of a leader on a professional level. A good Professional Excellence Plan seeks to answer Spiritual Cup questions such as:

  1. What type of team are you helping the organization to become when no one is looking?
  2. How are you helping the organization to become more like the kingdom of God?

The Competency Development of a leader builds the Leadership Cup of a leader on a professional level. A good Professional Excellence Plan seeks to answer Leadership Cup questions such as:

  1. What are your leadership commitments and responsibilities in the organization?
  2. How will you fulfill your leadership commitments and responsibilities as a kingdom ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ in your organization?

To be sustainable spiritual leaders in our personal and professional lives, we must continually fill our spiritual cup (who we are in Christ) and our leadership cup (what we do in Christ) in the areas of character development, culture development, chemistry development, and competency development. Otherwise, empty cups will lead to empty spiritual leaders.

To His glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part Two Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part Two, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part One

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Praising GodOne day on the streets of our city, a young man about the age of 20 was asked this question by an interviewer: “What is a leader?”  The young man thought about it for a minute and responded, “I think it’s a little more than a gallon…”

Well, I don’t think this is exactly the definition that the interviewer had in mind. The shortest definition for leadership that I’ve ever heard is that “leadership is influence” taught by John Maxwell. Great military leader, Bernard Montgomery, defined leadership as “the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose, and the character which inspires confidence.”

The Leadership Mandate From God

Regardless of whether or not you and I know the definition of leadership, in the kingdom of God, we are all natural born leaders because God created us in His image and He has given all of us a mandate to lead. Genesis 1:27-28 affirms our leadership mandate stating, “God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.’”

It is clear from the biblical account of creation that men and women are natural born leaders. However, to be a spiritual leader in the kingdom of God, it takes more than just God’s mandate to lead. Spiritual leaders in the kingdom of God are also anointed by the Holy Spirit to lead and they are appointed to lead in spiritual service by God alone.  J. Oswald Sanders says this about spiritual leadership, “Spiritual leaders are not elected, appointed, or created by synods or church assemblies. God alone makes them.” In John 15:16 Jesus told His disciples, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit.”

The Difference Between Natural Leadership And Spiritual Leadership

According to Mr. Sanders, there is a significant difference between natural leadership and spiritual leadership. Many of the differences are highlighted below:

  • Natural Leaders are self-confident              
  • Spiritual Leaders are confident in God
  • Natural leaders know men                          
  • Spiritual leaders know God
  • Natural leaders make their own decisions                       
  • Spiritual leaders seek God’s will
  • Natural leaders are ambitious                    
  • Spiritual leaders are humble
  • Natural leaders create methods                 
  • Spiritual leaders follow God’s example
  • Natural leaders enjoy command                              
  • Spiritual leaders delight in obedience to God
  • Natural leaders seek personal reward                                 
  • Spiritual leaders love God and others
  • Natural leaders are independent                            
  • Spiritual leaders are dependent on God

Regarding the process by which God qualifies spiritual leaders to lead in His kingdom, Mr. Sanders writes, “Often truly authoritative leadership falls on someone who years earlier dedicated themselves to practice the discipline of seeking first the kingdom of God. Then, as that person matures, God confers a leadership role, and the Spirit of God goes to work through him. When God’s searching eye finds a person qualified to lead, God anoints that person with the Holy Spirit and calls him to a special ministry.”

The Outward Physical Expression Of Inside Spiritual Growth

After my return home as a prodigal son back into my heavenly Father’s arms, the Lord began to privately develop my spiritual leadership as I intimately pursued Him in close personal relationship. However, during that time, to the casual observer of my physical activities on the outside, I may have seemed like just another Type A over-achiever; but, on the inside, God was doing a deep restorative work in my soul, preparing me for true spiritual leadership and service in His kingdom. People who knew me during those days might recall how much weight I lost and all of the physical training that I was doing in preparation for an Ironman triathlon. It took 3 years of training for the Ironman and most of that time, I didn’t tell many people that I was even training for an Ironman.

I first started training with 14 miles of outdoor riding, then training for the two-day 75 mile MS Tour Ride, then a back-to-back ADA century ride, then run training for my first half marathon, then a full marathon, then my first sprint triathlon, then an Olympic triathlon, then a half Ironman triahthlon, then a second half Ironman triathlon, and then the full Ironman triathlon. Then two and a half years later, the 3,000 mile Race Across America – the world’s toughest bicycle race.

You might ask yourself, what in the world was he doing all that for? I can imagine that many people may have thought that I was trying to find an identity outside of Christ through over-achieving activities. I can truly understand how some might think that to be true of me during that time in my life. And to state the obvious, it does take a lot of effort to do an Ironman triathlon and ride a bike across America. However, for me it was more than just the effort and the rewards attached to those significant physical achievements in my life. By the sufficiency of God’s grace freely given to me through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I can say with purity of heart and a clean conscience before the Lord that I had nothing to prove or anything to earn by such physical pursuits. The truth is that all of my physical training at that time was simply an outward expression of my spiritual training on the inside as I sought to love Jesus with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, learned how to walk more closely with Him, and diligently pursued His kingdom.  

The Mirror Between Physical Disciplines And Spiritual Disciplines

While people could easily see my physical training on the outside at that time, unless you knew me well, most people couldn’t see my spiritual training on the inside during that same time. I was not only training in the physical realm through the pursuit and practice of physical disciplines, I was also training in the spiritual realm through the pursuit and practice of spiritual disciplines beginning with my water baptism, then my freedom weekend retreat, my daily prayer meetings with God, my daily devotions in the word of God, my writing of hundreds of bible verses on note cards to memorize in prayer, my weekly praise and worship to God with tears and weeping, my faithful participation in small group no matter what, my completion of the Biblical Foundations class, my faithful serving in the parking lot every other weekend, my leading of small group every week, my engagement in the prison ministry at Rayburn Correctional Center, my 1 day, 3 day, 5 day, 7 day, 10 day, and 21 day fasts, my mission trip to South Africa, my daily prostration on the altar of God as a living sacrifice crying out to God to know me, search me, and change me from the inside out.

The Spiritual Leadership Development Sharpening Process

What was God doing in me during that time? Through the process of developing the physical disciplines necessary to complete an Ironman triathlon and the simultaneous pursuit of the spiritual disciplines necessary for growing in Christ, I was learning the principle of Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.” Throughout the three years of training for Ironman, I did not train alone, but rather trained with one of my best friends in life. Committed to run the race of life together, we both trained for Ironman, sharpening one another, so that we could both strongly cross the finish line. And we did. Additionally, I can tell you that during those physical training days with my friend, I was also being sharpened spiritually with the help of my awesome Pastors. In their good hands, I was being taught how to pursue God and live for Him as a spiritual leader in His kingdom. I now stand today with a healthy fear of the Lord, amazed at His faithfulness in my life, and humbled by His grace to give me the opportunity to be a spiritual leader in His kingdom…a tremendous privilege I do not take lightly.

I share this personal story to emphasize that spiritual leadership development only happens through the diligent pursuit of a real personal relationship with God and other spiritual leaders in His kingdom. Must you complete an Ironman to become an impactful spiritual leader in God’s kingdom? Certainly not! But you must love Jesus with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength as well as seek first His kingdom and all of His righteousness in your life. As Christ followers, none of us are exempt from pursuing and practicing the spiritual disciplines necessary to grow us as spiritual leaders in God’s kingdom. If we truly desire for the Lord to mature us, qualify us, appoint us, and anoint us as impactful spiritual leaders in His kingdom, nothing less than loving God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength will do.

To His glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God– Part One Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part One , in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

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