Great leaders define where the organization really is at, build teams, move people, set God goals and strategies, change the world and are thankful. Let's look at the thankfulness of the greatest leader of all time. We see this gratitude after Jesus trained and sent the 72 disciples out to do life changing ministry in Luke 10.
"When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to Jesus....
At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, 'O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way....'
Then when they were alone, Jesus turned to the disciples and said,'Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen.'"
Can you see Jesus' gratitude? Can you see how grateful Jesus is for God and for His disciples, for His team?
I like the expression to be "filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit." Ponder what this means.... What did that look like for Jesus to be filled with Joy of the Holy Spirit?
When you think of your family, your church family, the ministry team that you lead or are a teammate on, is this what you are being filled with, the joy of the Holy Spirit?
Maybe? Maybe not? Most likely not?
Ministry is very challenging. Trying to pull a team together, trying to build a healthy team, trying to get everyone united around a vision and set goals is overwhelming enough. Then when you throw in fallen human beings and the invisible but daily attack of the evil one and his teammates, no wonder it might be hard to be filled with joy of the Holy Spirit.
Remember, gratitude is a choice. We choose gratefulness. Circumstances will always change. There will always be seasons of good times and bad times. Most often, all seasons have both good times and bad times at the same time.
Jesus trained the disciples. God trained Paul. Paul trained the Christians in Thessalonica. God is training us with 1 Thess 5:16-18 "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
God's will for every life is to always be rejoicing, praying and thanking.
Do you have this memorized?
Is this a theme of your life, your family, your leadership?
Praying to be a more grateful leader,
As we have been focusing on Leadership for the past month, we need to talk about the most difficult leadership job there is; the overwhelming task of leading yourself. You are the hardest person to lead. Learning the leadership skill of "Self-Leadership" is extremely important and often overlooked.
How can any of us effectively lead others if our passion is gone, our souls are wounded and our courage is dried up? Do you regularly debrief with yourself about the condition of your soul, the mission God has called you to, the passion burning in your heart, the inner workings of your life?
Let's not forget about Jesus' pattern. After intense ministry, Jesus would get alone with God and His disciples for prayer, fasting, solitude, reflection, and recreation. Jesus knew the importance of having His mission crystal clear, His soul strong and encouraged, His passion white hot, His love for God and sinful people bursting. Are you following Jesus' example?
How is your soul?
How is your passion?
How is your character?
How is your ego, pride, humility?
How are you dealing with your inner issues that raise havoc in your soul, your relationships and your mission in life?
Do you remember the healthiness and wisdom of Jesus when He fed the 4,000? "During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 'I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat...' After Jesus (fed and) sent them away, Jesus got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha." Mark 8:1-2 & 9
Can you see Jesus' bursting love for the people with the word "compassion?"
Can you see the wisdom of Jesus to get away for a time of refreshment and refilling with God's presence, wisdom and direction?
Have you thought, what would it take from me to minister to thousands like Jesus?
How are you doing at leading yourself?
What do you need to do to get re-calibrated to be all of who God dreamed and calls you to become?
What spiritual exercises do you need to re-engage?
What relationships do you need to re-connect with in order to help your soul?
Remember, the best gift you can give the people in your life is a healthy, energized, fully alive in Christ you.
Praying for all of us to grow in the skill of self-leadership,
Leadership Decision-Making is a challenging yet powerful skill to learn and grow in with each other. As being a pastor for 25 years, I see that leadership decision-making can either go in two directions; People Pleasing Decision-Making verses Vision Decision-Making. Are we making decisions to please people or are we making decisions based on the vision of Jesus Christ?
Quite often we, church leaders, get nervous when making decisions because we fear what people will think about the decision we have made. Will they like us? Will they stop liking us? Will they leave our church or our group or our ministry team?
We can recognize that we are in this mode of decision-making when we take feedback to be a personal attack on us. This can easily lead to not wanting to be fully truthful about what is happening in the ministry, which can cause avoidance to the real problems within the ministry. It can also lead to paralyses in decision-making. When we are in this mindset of people-pleasing decision-making, realize that we have made an idol in our leadership. The idol becomes people-pleasing. This is a shocking wake up call.
It is helpful to understand that when the servant-leaders make decisions, about 80% of the people do not really care. 10% will be hurt by the decision. The other 10% are saying "it is about time you made the right decision."
When the leadership agrees to make decisions based on vision, God starts to move and people get uncomfortable. So, it is extremely important that we make decisions based on the clear vision of Jesus Christ, found in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. We need a vision statement that is based on the heart of Jesus in three areas; loving God, loving Christians and loving those far from God. Then, what are we going to do to show this?
We need to ask these questions when making a leadership decision:
• Will this decision drive us to live out the vision of Jesus more?
• Will this decision take courage because we are going to do the Jesus thing and not the people-pleasing thing?
• Will this honor Jesus?
• Will this build up, grow and mature Christians?
• Will this reach those far from God?
We see Jesus making these leadership decisions all over the Gospels. One example is found in Mark 1. After some life changing ministry in Capernaum, the people sought out Jesus to stay and be their leader, their pastor, their spiritual leader. Jesus made the vision decision to leave and reach another community. Jesus said to them, "Let's go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come." Jesus was more concerned with following His Heavenly Father instead of pleasing people.
Let's continue to have courage to make decisions based on the vision of Jesus, even if it hurts. It has been said, "If you are in the position to call the shots, you will take the shots."
Learning to be willing to take shots from others for Jesus,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.