Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part One


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.

The Make It Happen Moment ® By The Book

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Quote: “Life doesn’t reward what you know; it rewards what you do with what you know!” – Dave Anderson

In June 2010 I formed a cycling team to participate in Race Across America, the world’s toughest bicycle race – 3,005 miles from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland. Our team’s mission was to finish well and support the fight against childhood obesity through corporate sponsorships. As you might imagine, this extreme ultra-endurance cycling event was no easy challenge. With one rider on the road at all times, we rode non-stop day and night across 14 states, through the mountains of Colorado and West Virginia, the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, the wheat and cornfields of Kansas and Missouri, and the large and small cities of America.

To successfully complete the journey, we were given an all-encompassing route book that charted our course to 54 officially designated time stations from start to finish. Included in the route book were maps with elevation profiles to each successive time station and directions noted at precisely accurate mileage markers on the odometer. It was remarkable how well the directions in the route book accurately directed us to turn left or right at just the precise odometer readings. Consequently, without the route book, our 8-person team and 6 crew members would have not known when and where to turn on the route nor would we have ever made it to the finish line in 6 days, 14 hours, and 55 minutes as the 5th place team in our division.

As a rookie team, one of our biggest concerns was how we were going to find our way and arrive at each time station without getting lost. With the race over and gaining the first-hand knowledge and experience of a RAAM team finisher, our team can attest to the supreme accuracy of the route book that we were given by race officials and would definitely assert that the path would be painstakingly difficult to follow at best without the help of the route book. 

Do you know that a business team needs a supremely accurate route book as well to help chart their course and successfully achieve their business mission in the marketplace? In the same way that I can attest first hand to the supreme accuracy of the Race Across America route book as a certified RAAM team finisher, I can also attest first hand to the Supreme accuracy of the Word of God in helping business leaders to successfully achieve their business missions as a business leader who loves the Lord and has personally built many teams on the “can do” principles of the Word of God.  Psalms 119:105 states, “Your word [the Bible] is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path”; therefore, we can trust that the Bible will provide supremely accurate directions for every aspect of our lives including our businesses.

On the other hand, a business team that tries to achieve its business mission without the precise and accurate directions found in the Word of God is like a RAAM team trying to complete the Race Across America without the precise and accurate directions found in the RAAM route book…painstakingly difficult indeed.  Proverbs 14:12 states, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” and Proverbs 16:9 states, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” As business leaders with a spirit of wisdom and excellence, let us diligently seek the way of the Lord found in His Word and follow His path as we trust Him to direct our steps in business and lead us on a tremendously rewarding faith journey in the marketplace!

The Make It Happen Professionalism Value: “Make It Happen” People Are Professionals!

Have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Edited by The Make It Happen Moment ® Editorial Team

The Make It Happen Moment ® By The Book Copyright 2010, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint The Make It Happen Moment ® By The Book, 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 Make It Happen Moment ® Great Teams


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Quote: “When you affirm big, believe big, and pray big, big things happen!” – Norman Vincent Peale

Did you know that your attitude and the attitudes of the people on your team can make the difference in whether or not you have a bad team or a great team, assuming everyone is technically proficient in their role?  It is true! Attitude is the differentiating factor in talented teams that succeed and talented teams that fail. 

John Maxwell’s formula for team success defined in his book, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, is Abilities + Attitudes = Results.

                   Great Talent    +   Rotten    Attitudes         =       Bad Team

                   Great Talent    +   Bad        Attitudes         =       Average Team

                   Great Talent    +   Average Attitudes          =       Good Team

                   Great Talent    +   Good     Attitudes          =       Great Team

According to Norman Vincent Peale, big things happen when people affirm big, believe big, and pray big; however, it is difficult to do this unless a person or a team has faith enough to first think big.  Thinking big is really thinking in terms of God’s abundance.  Combining faith and a positive attitude, creates an awesome winning combination. 

If you are on a team, your personal talent and expertise are important; however, your positive attitude is even more important because it defines how you will choose to use your talent and expertise.  Will you use your talent and expertise for the greater good or for self-serving purposes?  Only you can answer this question through your faith and choice of personal attitude.   John Maxwell states, “the attitude of the individual determines the attitude of the group.”  Great teams are comprised of people who use their talent and expertise to “make it happen” serving others and solving problems that make a real difference in life.  If you want to be part of a great team, it’s up to you to do your part.  One person can make a difference!  With faith and a positive attitude, you can be the spark that ignites greatness in your team!

The Make It Happen People Value: “Make It Happen” People Possess A Positive Attitude!

Have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Edited by The Make It Happen Moment ® Editorial Team

The Make It Happen Moment ® Great Teams Copyright 2005, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint The Make It Happen Moment ® Great Teams, 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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