Reality Leadership

j0433120

Leadership that actually makes a difference, and bears fruit. (1 Chronicles 12:32 NLT) From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the temper of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.

(NCV) There were two hundred leaders from Issachar. They knew what Israel should do, and they knew the right time to do it. Their relatives were with them and under their command.

I find that it is often very difficult for those in ministry to think realistically about where their ministry is currently at, or where they will end up if the continue on their current course.

I have seen so many pastors who are struggling in ministry, and imagine that someday their churches will blossom and flourish into a dynamic ministry that truly impacts the world. While they may be sincere, I can see that if they do not change their approach to ministry this will never become a reality.

It is very easy to develop blind spots in our lives. They crop up, and we have no way of recognizing them without someone, or some incident exposing them. Unfortunately, they are often pointed out after some tragedy, or failure.

I have  counseled men over the years whose wives wanted a divorce, much to their surprise. As far as the guy was concerned things just were not that bad. This comes from living in a relationship without dealing with reality.

9/11 was a reality check for the United States. It revealed something that most Americans were totally oblivious too prior to this. That reality was that America was vulnerable to being attacked by Islamist radicals.

In ministry it becomes very easy to fall asleep at the wheel, and suddenly wake up to the reality that there are problems staring us in the face that possibly could have been avoided if we would have simply seen them coming. The church world seems to be the worst place to bring about change. It is human nature to resist change, and when we begin to believe that change will somehow diminish the spiritual climate we have come to enjoy, people suddenly become very reluctant to embrace change.

A popular Christian magazine featured the top churches with the fastest growing Sunday school programs in the United States. Ten years latter not one of those churches was ranked among the top. Obviously they were unable, or unwilling to make the necessary changes to keep pace with the future.

The following are some suggestions that you might want to consider about your ministry, and consider making some adjustments if necessary.

Purpose: What is the purpose of your ministry? As obvious as this may seem, it is perhaps the most difficult area to clearly stay focused on for many leaders.

We should be able to distinguish the difference between the activities of the ministry, and the purpose of the ministry. The purpose of the ministry must determine what activities the ministry performs, not the other way around.

The following quote by Mario Murillo addresses the problem of ministry without clearly defined purpose.

“Fighting with no stated goal can lead to a war of attrition – a slow defeat in which you actually seem to be winning. What you are busy doing looks right and brings results, but you can’t see the long-range damage your results are making. You can’t see that what you are doing cannot take you where you really want to go. Eventually your army will atrophy. An objective would expose this false success. It would be a compass to help you stay on the course, a gauge to judge actions versus distractions. With it an army can declare, “No matter how good this action looks, it violates our objective.” Mario Murillo, Fresh Impact

Many people can tell you what they do, but very few ever take the time to ask themselves what they ultimately hope to accomplish?

A follower asks how, while a leader asks why? If we loose sight of the why, we will eventually loose our motivation for performing what we do.

“The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who knows why will always be his boss.” Sherman Owens

One of the sure signs of lack of wisdom and maturity is the inability to grasp the purpose behind what we are doing. Living life in this manner will lead to drudgery. Trying to lead a ministry in this way will lead to the same. Purpose is what motivates us to perform the routine, or the unpleasant.

Take for example the often-limited scope of children. Tell a young boy to take bath, and he will often ask, “Why do I have to take a bath?” Tell a child that they need to study so they will be able to grow up and have a good future, and they will often stare at you with a blank look. As if they have absolutely no understanding as to what you are talking about.

Example: A young boy is learning to play the guitar. He dislikes the fact that he cannot press all the strings down with his fingers, and he approaches practice with drudgery. One day an angel appears to the boy, and sweeps him away to a concert hall, where he sees a man on stage playing a guitar, as the boy never imagined it could be played. The boy is totally caught up, and inspired by the virtuosity of the performer.

After listening for some time, the angel says to the boy, “This is you in twenty years.” The boy is amazes that he could ever reach this level of ability. Suddenly the angel sweeps the boy back to his room, hands him his guitar, and says, “Now practice!”

If you as a leader only understand what your ministry does, but cannot see how it serves in fulfilling the over all vision of the body as a whole, then you will never inspire anyone to continue to follow you.

Passion: How passionate are you about fulfilling your purpose? Purpose without passion, is no more than lofty idealism.

“Nothing of lasting value was ever achieved without passion.” John Maxwell

If you as a leader find that you lack the necessary passion to motivate others to follow you into battle, then you should ask yourself if you should be the leader?

A leader without passion is like an engine without fuel! Passion is the result of a clear heart felt purpose. If you lack passion, you probably don’t understand your purpose.

If you look at your passion, and it does not seem to fit the area you are leading, then we should probably try to work you out of that area, and into something that is truly in your heart.

Plans: What realistic plans are you making to fulfill your purpose? Without a clear plan of attack even the best of intentions will bear little fruit.

(James 2:26 NKJV) For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

I have heard many pastors share the plans they have for their church, but seem to be oblivious to the reality that what they are pursuing will never take them where they want to go.

We always must be asking ourselves if what we are doing is producing the type of fruit we want it to? If it is not, then we must learn how to prune away the dead branches.

(John 15:1-8 NKJV) “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. {2} “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. {3} “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. {4} “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. {5} “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. {6} “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. {7} “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. {8} “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

We will always face obstacles to growth, but as leaders we must rely on the Holy Spirit to give us strategies for overcoming those obstacles.

Our plans must include strategies for breaking through barriers. (1 Chronicles 12:32 NCV) There were two hundred leaders from Issachar. They knew what Israel should do, and they knew the right time to do it.

Leaders figure out what should be done, and when to do it. Very often the solution is a practical one, but it requires wisdom to recognize it, and to implement.

(Acts 6:1-7 NLT) But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. Those who spoke Greek complained against those who spoke Hebrew, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. {2} So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. “We apostles should spend our time preaching and teaching the word of God, not administering a food program,” they said. {3} “Now look around among yourselves, friends, and select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will put them in charge of this business. {4} Then we can spend our time in prayer and preaching and teaching the word.” {5} This idea pleased the whole group, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (a Gentile convert to the Jewish faith, who had now become a Christian). {6} These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. {7} God’s message was preached in ever-widening circles. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.

Conclusion:

1. Define the purpose of your ministry, and be able to effectively communicate that purpose.

2. What do you see in your ministry that causes you to be stirred to passion, and how can you communicate this passion to others?

3. Identify three to four clearly defined major ministry goals for the next few months and year.

4. Develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these goals.

5. Provide identifiable barriers that stand in the way of the fulfillment of these goals.

 

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