In part 1 of Leader Development Basics I made the case for the importance of grasping God’s role as the primary developer of His leaders. This significant belief should be our foundation for all leader development. If you agree with this principle, then how should you respond if you are a ministry leader and you realize you are in God's development crucible? Please don’t let the obvious nature of what our responses should be keep you from examining what you believe and how to act accordingly.
If we trust God, we will do what He asks us to do.
Developing a trusting relationship with God is an obvious course a ministry leader should take. We will consistently and regularly ask God what He wants us to do. We will trust that He has something for us to learn when we experience very difficult situations. We will trust him and not allow our situations to cause us to get discouraged. Sure, all Believers should build a trusting relationship with God, but how many of us actually live out that trust in how we deal with the challenging issues of life?
A simultaneous assignment should also be to seek to understand God more and more each day. Through Bible reading, prayer and just being still and listening to God we will begin to realize His attributes and His greatness.
By now you may be getting a little frustrated by these “Captain Obvious” suggestions. If you are, please pause to reflect on your actions over the last 12 months and see if you had times when God’s omnipotence seemed unlikely to apply to your life. Life is hard and ministry is even harder. Our high view of God can become dislodged in our daily struggles. Leaders learn how to maintain their high view of God by constantly filling their hearts and minds with his attributes.
With these foundations in place we are better prepared to reflect on our lives and see what God has been doing. The value of having a perspective of several months or several years can help us see more clearly what God has been up to. When we seek His help in connecting the dots of His work in our lives, we get valuable data points that help us discover what God wants to use us for in the future. The trail God leaves in our life may not be obvious at first but there is usually something there that we can use to discover what God desires for us next.
This level of preparation is necessary to enable us to have the faith needed to sustain our development as a Kingdom leader. We do not develop the leadership competencies God desires for us by playing it safe. Personal growth almost always occurs when we are way outside of our comfort zone. Leaders are developed by what they do. What we do, determines our being, that inner most complex operating system that moves us through life and either leads us in the ways God wants us to go or in our own self-centered ways that never produce the fulfillment God desires for us.
Once we have been obedient and either succeeded or failed at our God designed tasks, we can begin harvesting the lessons that could not have been learned without our obedience. I did mean to use the word "failed" in that last sentence. Great leaders experience failure. It is one of the reasons they can become great. The other reason is they don’t let failure discourage them. They embrace failure and learn from it.
So how are you discovering and processing God’s work in your life? These simple but critical principles enable our hearts and minds to take the steps and learn the lessons that drive our development as a healthy ministry leader. - JJ