A useful definition of leadership revolves around “vision,” and has three parts:
- The leader establishes the vision.
- He aligns the people in that direction.
- He motivates and inspires them to move and keep moving in that direction until they fulfill the vision.
Viewed from this angle, leadership involves movement toward a vision. This is a helpful way to understand leadership – but only if the vision and its implementation are legitimate.
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Too often, churches and ministry organizations allow themselves to be distracted by things other than the real issue. The real issue may be a key problem they need to face or a key opportunity for advancement they should explore. A crucial role of the leader is to focus attention on the real issue at the time.
Healthy leaders help people to face reality and to change their beliefs, values, attitudes and actions in order to deal with the real problems and the real opportunities. They resist false solutions and any attempt to bypass reality. With unrelenting precision, they pursue the truth.
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Every leader knows very well that there are never enough hours in the day to invest personally in all the issues that are competing for his attention. To be effective, he must delegate many responsibilities, as well as, whenever possible, the necessary decision-making authority.
However, there are certain responsibilities that the leader simply cannot delegate to others. Thankfully, the number of such responsibilities is not large. In fact, there are two critical areas that uniquely require the leader’s personal attention: vision and leader development.
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We have identified ten patterns of healthy thinking; core habits of the mind that come from inward divine life and lead to fruitful outward action.
The last several Letters introduced the first: looking at God. The continuous experience of inward union with Christ is the source and center of all other healthy thinking behaviors. This is an inward choice to look at Him, by His Spirit.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:18, ESV)
Union with Christ is the living nucleus of transformational thinking; every other aspect of our thinking, and our lives, must revolve around this – around Him.
…If a man abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
When we live out of His inward life, we will have His enabling, His presence, His victory, and we will pursue the highest. This is the second habit of transformational thinking: passion for the highest. The healthy leader will strive to grow, to solve, to build, to overcome – always pushing, pressing on, moving forward to fulfill God’s highest purposes. Continue Reading »
In Romans 8, Paul contrasts the old inner life with the new inner life in Christ:
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Rom. 8:5-6, ESV)
Here is a clear description of the practical, internal “mechanics” of union with Christ. The maturing believer “sets his mind” on the Spirit and on “the things of the Spirit.” This means to inwardly turn away from the things of the old life (self, sin, the world, the devil) and to give our full inward attention to Him. This does not refer to our minds in a purely intellectual sense, but it means our entire inward lives – our minds, our hearts, our thoughts, our motivations, our affections, our love, our desires, our focus – “all that is within me…” (Ps. 103:1). It refers to the turning of our inward lives to Him. This is the internal mechanism of union with Christ, this is the internal activity of knowing God. Continue Reading »
Our last Letter looked at the first, and most important, element of transformational thinking: looking at God. Biblically, knowing the Lord Jesus is the gift from God of an inward experience of fellowship with Him, by His Spirit and through His Word, which results in the transformation of every aspect of life.
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
Knowing God is not merely an intellectual agreement about a “legal position” in Christ, but it is to be a conscious, inward experience of fellowship with Him: Continue Reading »