“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” Walt Disney
Few people are fans of adversity. More factually, no one enjoys adversity. The exposure to health, family, financial, and hundreds of other challenges cause us to reflect on who we are, why we are here, and how we will endure.
On the one hand, reflection can lead to doubt and negativity, but on the other hand, reflection can remind us of the nature of God’s working through adversity to strengthen us and make us into the servants He desires of us.
The words of Walt Disney may seem a little more blunt, but the point is the same. There are times when the adversity, troubles, and obstacles in life are the best thing for us.
Leaders who understand this are better equipped to help others when they face adversity and ask strong reflecting questions.
A study of leaders and leadership reveals a plethora of information that presents a daunting task of determining what is right and who is the right leader to follow.
Solomon was certainly right when he said, “The writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body” (Ec. 12:12).
However, God provides us with a book that reveals information sufficient for both what is right and who is the right leader to follow.
No greater qualities for leadership are identified today than those addressed throughout the pages of the Bible.
No greater example of leadership can be found than the example left by Jesus.
Dedicating ourselves to learning the truths provided by God and studying the example of Jesus will result in a godly leader.
There is no better way to honor and glorify the God we serve than by leading with our eyes focused on Jesus and our hearts devoted to following the depths of His word.
When followers have this example in earthly leaders, they will follow the right leader.
One side of this phrase involves an indifferent mindset to the immoral direction of our world, “its just a sign of the times,” as though nothing can be done to change it.
The other side is connected to a thought expressed by Jesus regarding the religious leaders of the Jews who could read signs about the weather, but not the fulfillment of prophecies concerning Jesus as the Christ.
In application to leadership, are we able to see the signs of our times? Are we aware of the cultural changes developing almost daily?
The direction of the world where we live can be frightening and exciting at the same time. The opportunities have never been greater. The needs have never been more pressing.
We must move out of the proverbial mentality of the past.
The message never changes, but the methods we use to approach our current day needs attention. If the methods we use are outdated, the effectiveness is limited.
Can we see the signs of the times, or are we doing the same things in the same ways expecting different results? It is something to think about.
A recent study in the area of culture revealed numerous facts important to the direction of leading. Culture is a relative term. We do know that culture is a word connected to cultivating, thus a gardening term.
Culture is defined as the beliefs, customs, arts, etc. of a particular society, group of people, time and place. Culture is characterized by a way of thinking, belief, or behavior.
We can say that culture is an environment cultivated by the people who participate in that environment.
Our world is a multi-cultural place. We also find numerous cultures within cultures. There are work cultures, educational cultures, religious cultures, age and gender specific cultures, and the list is unending.
Leaders work to understand the culture, but changing the culture is far from easy, if not impossible. The idea has been presented that leaders must create new cultures to draw people into a new way of thinking, believing or behaving.
There is validity to the idea and Jesus seems to follow this approach with the 1st century culture. We are left to consider how we will lead in the 21st century culture.
The mentoring relationship is a mutual relationship designed to establish and achieve specific well-defined goals.
These goals are connected to developing the ability to know, think, and do.
The ultimate purpose and design of mentoring is to create a relationship that nurtures learning. One of the key components required to achieve this kind of relationship is responsibility.
When being mentored, a learner takes responsibility for the priorities, learning, and resources to achieve a capacity for self-direction. The idea expresses moving “from dependence to independence to interdependence” (3).
A number of elements are also essential for a learning-centered mentoring program: reciprocity, learning, relationship, partnership, collaboration, mutually defined goals, and development.
The design of each of these elements is to promote stronger relationships that motivate, inspire, and contribute to development and growth. This relationship is collaborative and channeled to achieve a support system of success. The mutuality in mentoring increases the viability of the desired purpose in the relationship.
For more information on developing mentoring relationships, read Lois Zachary’s book The Mentor’s Guide, Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships.
“Sometimes walking away has nothing do with weakness, and everything to do with strength. We walk away not because we want others to realize our worth and value, but because we finally realize our own.” Robert Tew
Several years ago, Lincoln Young visited the Bible Institute and made reference to a book he was planning to write entitled Walking Away. The premise involved biblical references where individuals walked away.
The quote today is significant and stands on its own. We all need the strength to walk away from people or activities that call our Christian character into question.
When we understand we are God’s children, made in the image of God, our worth and value change incredibly.
Satan wants us to believe our worth and value are summed up in achieved success, what others say about us, and what we have materially. No greater lie exists.
We need to resist the temptation to find our worth and value in the temporal things of this life, realizing the greatness of our God makes our walking away from sin eternally worth it all.
Potential is often a word tossed around concerning the possibility of something occurring if the right conditions or circumstances are in place.
It is also used regarding the capacity of someone to become or develop into something in the future.
The challenge for leaders is to determine an individual’s potential and the potential of the congregation where they serve.
Three basic areas exist when considering ways to determine potential.
The first area is actions. One of the best ways to determine potential is to examine the actions of the past. What has been done by the individual or congregation over the past five or ten years that lays a foundation for the future?
Another area is abilities. An individual or congregation cannot grow beyond their abilities. These abilities can change with training and practice, but considering the abilities that exist is a second key to determining potential.
The third is attitude. With the right attitude, very little is impossible. When a positive attitude exists and the determination to achieve the goal, the potential is unlimited.
Potentially speaking, leaders should examine these areas and set goals for the future.