Six Keys to “Successful” Christian Leadership

[At the Annual Grace Commission International Meeting I shared the following message entitled "Six Keys to Successful Christian Leadership." An outline of that message is included here. I hope it will be a source of encouragement to you as well…Ron]

The Six Keys are:

I. Redefine your definition of success…(Matthew 25:21)

    1. Success in the world is “how much,” in the kingdom  it is “how well.” In other words: Kingdom success is qualitative not quantitative. Bigger isn’t always better or necessarily worse
    2. Harness your personal ambitions (James 3:16) . We’re not climbing some ladder to reach as high as we can. We’re simply trying to be faithful…No more and no less. The sooner you and I learn this the more peaceful our lives and ministries will be. “I’d rather be held accountable to God for a little I was given by Him, rather than for a lot that I took for myself,” Charles Simpson
    3. Well done thou good and faithful servant. We’re called to be servant-leaders (Matthew 20:26-18) i.e., leaders whose entire focus for their position is to serve those among whom they have charge in the Lord. A faithful servant perseveres rather than leaving at the first sign of difficulty. If you do fail then return with broken contrition and begin again .
      • “Peter, satan has required permission from God to sift you like wheat, but I’ve prayer for you, and after you have recovered strengthen your brothers again”
      • “If” by Rudyard Kipling-Read at end of session

II. Make “character counts” more than a slogan (2 Peter 1:5)

    1. Jack Hayford’s newest book …The Leading Edge
        • Leadership is about character, and growth in character is what constitutes the leader’s edge” (p., viii)
        • 2 Peter 1:5…add to faith virtue which is character (vs. 3)
        • Character applies to the aggregate of moral qualities by which a person is judged apart from intelligence, competence, or special talents.

Etymology: Middle English caracter, from Middle French caractère, from Latin character mark, distinctive quality, from Greek charaktEr, from charassein to scratch, engrave; perhaps akin to Lithuanian zerti to scratch

God marks, with his character, everything he owns or redeems—including us!

    1. The distinctive marks of character from God are:
  • Moral excellence
  • Honesty and truthfulness. This implies being free from deceit and misrepresentation or duplicity. Note: removing duplicity (which we all have in some areas) can take years of purposeful cultivation until our outer life perfectly reflects our inward life.
  • Integrity (from integer), a whole number with nothing left over (a complete entity); again, no duplicity. (See Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)Integrity implies the ability to integrate into something larger than one’s own. Warning: Cancerous cells disintegrate.
  • Humility-authentic lowly mindedness without false self-abasement
  • Holiness-stay clean in an unclean world. Pornography–Don’t live beneath your dignity of a child of God–let alone a servant-leader in His church. What we keep out of ours hearts is as important as what you put in them (2 Timothy 2:20-21)
  • Wisdom (James 3:17)

III. Expect the supernatural power of God-and do so without hype (Mark 16:17-18)

    • Be super at natural things and let God be supernatural!
    • 1 Corinthians 2:4…Not with persuasive words but with demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that faith doesn’t rest on wisdom of man, but on the power of God.
    • Prayer-personal devotion
    • Fasting-periodic/regular
    • Bible study
    • Ministry to others/praying for others
    • Anointing with oil
    • Laying on of hands (A foundation of the faith; Hebrews 6:1-2)
    • Earnestly seek spiritual gifts, but especially that you might prophesy

IV. Learn to Pace Yourself (Mark 6:31)

    • Learn offensive and defensive techniques
    • Take frequent breaks from your daily routine (come apart before you doJ)

V. Live a life of grace and passion…(Romans 12:11)

    • Grace is relational-based theology that ultimately rests in the finished work of Christ alone without minimizing the necessity of courageous and faithful obedience. (Carry yourself with dignity-even in the face of death itself)
    • Passion: Zeal for thy house consumes me (John 2:17) Not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord…
    • Henry David Thoreau said, “Wisdom knows no desperate feature.” But prophets are passion/desperate men and women.

VI. Leave a legacy that others can follow–not just a ministry that others will admire…(John 17:20)

    • Whitfield vs. Wesley. Though Whitfield was undoubtedly a greater orator than Wesley, Whitfield acknowledged at the end of his ministry that Wesley was the better man for having left more than a collection of sermons. He left a system that perpetuates/empowers others to carry on the ministry. Everyone knows about the Methodist church, but George Whitfield is a single historical figure.
    • My reproof for running ahead too fast and far: “Ron, the glory of a leader is not that he gets there himself, but that he brings with him all who truly desire to follow.”
    • Think, pray, and plan for the next generations-not just your own (John 17:20)
    • Annually refocus/sharpen your mission in writing-(Habakkuk 2:2)
[During a time of deep depression I memorized and daily meditated on this poem for the better part of a year. It has a lot of kingdom wisdom…Ron]

“If” by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

Let the Lord be Magnified!