“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NASB)
As spiritual leaders we’ll continually struggle with two things …
1. The drift toward insiders and away from outsiders.
a. Remain more concerned with who we are reaching than who we are keeping. b. Identify and remove obstacles to outsiders.
2. The drift toward law and away from grace.
a.Fewer policies & more conversations. b.Let’s always err on the side of grace.
“… we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” Acts 15:19 (NIV)
This is the personal and corporate vision for evangelism. Strategy: Invest & Invite; we shouldn’t make it difficult for people who are turning to God.
-------------------------------- WALK IN THE LIGHT YOU HAVE, LEAN UPON THE HOLY SPIRIT IN ALL THINGS, ADMIT WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO OR WHERE TO GO NEXT.
Being “in charge” does not mean a leader must act with certainty. Confident leaders are able to own up to their own mistakes and thus make effective midcourse corrections.
I may be in charge, but I don’t always know what to do. I may be in charge, but I don’t have all the answers. If I knew what was going to happen, I would know what to do.
The higher you move up in an organization the greater the complexity and the greater the uncertainty. Uncertainty is why we need leaders. Uncertainty is job security for the leader. If the uncertainty went away, we wouldn’t need leaders. We would only need managers.
LIFE IS UNCERTAIN, BUT GOD IS NOT UNCERTAIN. THE WORLD IS UNCERTAIN, BUT GOD IS NOT. UNCERTAINTY IS NOT GOING TO GO AWAY.
If you love growth and progress, you will always be confronted with uncertainty. Uncertainty is not an indication of poor leadership; it underscores the need for leadership. Uncertainty is the arena in which good leadership is identified. It is surfaced. It was in the most tumultuous times that the greatest leaders “bubbled up” to the top. Think about your favorite Bible story. Our favorite stories are the ones in which God showed up in uncertain circumstances when things looked bleak. It is what God does. This is the context in which Christian leaders lead well. God gets maximum mileage out of the uncertain times. You learn more from the hard times. Uncertain times are when God just shows up in remarkable ways. As Christians, we should not be dismayed. This is the time for those of us in leadership to step up and say, “Give me a passion, O God, for leading your people.” We should thrive in this environment.
In times when things are uncertain, there are three things to go back to …
1. CLARITY about the Mission.
Why was the organization started? Returning to the mission and seeing what has happened since the first days can serve as a reminder of what can happen when people focus on the mission/vision and work hard. You can be reminded about how you have gotten through uncertainty before. Sometimes looking back gives us the discipline and encouragement to move forward through uncertainty.
As a leader, it is okay to be uncertain; it is not okay to be unclear. Uncertainty is the environment where we can become unclear in our communication, but nothing is more important. In times of uncertainty, there is a way to be clear. Go back to the thing that God called you to do. Retreat back to that original vision and talk about it a lot.
a.The clearer the vision, the less uncertainty you will feel. b.Answer the question: What has God called you to do?
THOUGHT: “God, You got me into this, You are going to have to get me through it.”
2. FLEXIBILITY around the Plan.
The tendency in uncertainty is to continue doing what you have been doing more intensely or harder. In uncertainty, we tend to retreat to what is familiar. This can speed up our demise. Vision of the organization should never change. But how you accomplish the vision must have flexibility. Plans change, but vision remains the same. Do not confuse your plans with your vision. The reason that a lot of churches are dead is because we fell in love with the plan and left the vision. Where is the plan conflicting with the vision?Blow up the plan to get back to the vision.
THOUGHT: Don’t confuse strategy/approach with vision/mission.
3. TRANSPARENCY in Communication.
This is so important in uncertainty because uncertainty breeds anxiety. Anxiety breeds suspicion. Tell people what you know and what you are going to do.
Leaders tend to think, “I don’t need to say anything until I have something to say.” This isn’t a good approach. The better approach is to take the opportunity to say what people already think/know – even if you don’t have all of the answers. People want to know what their leaders are thinking about them. Even if it is something along the lines of, “I know you are worried. I want you to know that I know you are worried. I think this is what you are worried about. I will let you know when there is more to say.” It’s fun to deliver good news in person. You should also deliver bad news in person as well.
a.Be honest with your leaders and followers.
You must learn to confidently express your uncertainty. Learn to use phrases like:
·“I don’t know right now, but we’re going to figure it out.” ·“I don’t know right now, but when the time comes to do something I’m confident we’re going to have the answer.” ·“I don’t know right now, but God’s always been faithful to lead us. The Word of God isn’t going anywhere.”
Be honest and confidently express your uncertainty in light of God’s faithfulness.
Leadership is not about making decisions on your own, it’s about owning them once they are made.
c.Pray for wisdom and direction.
Have a spot where you can get on your knees and pray, physically saying to God that you are no less dependent on Him now than you were when you started. God has placed His church in your hands; you need clarity to lead it well.
"Saul was [thirty] years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel [forty-] two years. Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Micmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back to their homes. Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, 'Let the Hebrews hear!'So all Israel heard the news: 'Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become a stench to the Philistines.' And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Micmash, east of Beth Aven.When the men of Israel saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, 'Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.' And Saul offered up the burnt offering.Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. 'What have you done?' asked Samuel. Saul replied, 'When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash,I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.' 'You acted foolishly,' Samuel said. 'You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.'" 1 Samuel 13:1-14 (NIV)
In an act of impatience, a man in San Francisco, California, tried to beat traffic by swerving around a lane of cars that had come to a stop. However, the lane he pulled into had just been laid with fresh cement, and his Porsche 911 got stuck. This driver paid a high price for his impatience.
The Scriptures tell of a king who also paid a high price for his impatience. Eager for God to bless the Israelites in their battle against the Philistines, Saul acted impatiently. When Samuel did not arrive at the appointed time to offer a sacrifice for God’s favor, Saul became impatient and disobeyed God’s command (1 Samuel 13:8-9,13). Impatience led Saul to think he was above the law and to take on an unauthorized position of priest. He thought he could disobey God without serious consequences. He was wrong.
When Samuel arrived, he rebuked Saul for his disobedience and prophesied that Saul would lose the kingdom (vv.13-14). Saul’s refusal to wait for the development of God’s plan caused him to act in haste, and in his haste he lost his way. His impatience was the ultimate display of a lack of faith. Patience means awaiting God’s time and trusting God’s love.