A number of songs throughout most hymnals have powerful messages. There are songs of encouragement, exhortation, praise, and motivation.
In one particular hymnal there are two songs (one that is very popular) that have two distinct messages, yet with strikingly similar titles.
One song is a question and the other is an affirmation. The first asks, “Is it well with your soul?” The second states, “It is well with my soul.”
Apart from the stories behind the writing of these two hymns, the message from the titles gives an interesting foundation for a lesson in leadership.
In an effort to lead others to heaven, we must ask the question with the intent of providing the guidance to provide the affirmation.
Are we concerned with and asking others about the condition of their soul? Are we striving to help them see their relationship with God in light of what God’s word teaches?
Above all, we must focus on sharing a message that will leave others with the kind of confidence that allows them to say, “It is well with my soul.”
“To get to the next level your spirit has to be stretched. Don’t be discouraged by the growing pains. Promotion is a process.” Thelma Davis
Growing pains can be…well, painful. There are times when we get discouraged with growth as it often brings personal and congregational challenges.
Understanding the process involved is critical to achieving the desired result and the more we can keep our focus on that result, the more likely we are to succeed.
The strength to achieve that success is built upon stretching the spirit, extending ourselves to take occasional risks, expanding the depths of our thinking inside and outside the box, and considering where we are, where we want to be, and how we plan to get there (how we know when we arrive).
Applying proper strategy in each of these areas develops a leadership meant to reach new heights of success.
Be open to stretching the heart and mind.
Stay focused and encouraged during the growing pains (there is a goal).
Remember patience is needed while experiencing the process.
The results will speak for themselves and will be worth it all.
Throughout the year we are all involved in traveling to different places at various times. A common thought is often expressed in the joy of seeing friends and sharing in the sweet fellowship of Christians.
True and genuine friendship is rare and should be treasured. There is never a bad time for a friend. They always seem to know the right time to show up and the right things to say, or not say.
Leaders will often experience times when there is the need for a good friend, someone who is able to fill the gap, sharing the mountain tops and valleys.
A good friend is someone who knows when to listen without condemning or being critical. They are respectful even though they may disagree. Friends understand the situation and show up to be supportive no matter the cost.
If we understand the need to have friends during these times, how much more so do leaders need to provide this kind of friendship for others?
We are in the relationship business and the closer we develop those relationships the stronger our leadership becomes.
Corporately speaking, leadership can be a lonely place. The same idea often has the same relevance in the spiritual realm, except we are not alone.
The great truth about spiritual leadership is that no matter who walks away, we always have God. Paul reminds us that no one can bring a charge against God’s elect, no one can condemn or separate us from the love of Christ. We are not in this alone!
These truths make it possible to lead with confidence, grow stronger in faith, overcome the obstacles encountered, and instill hope through a vision of eternal greatness.
Each of these components make a significant difference concerning our leadership of God’s people.
People look to eliminate doubt, so lead with confidence.
People want a stronger faith, so help them grow.
People face challenges, so guide them to overcome.
People desire something better, so give them hope.
When we understand that we are not alone as leaders, perhaps we will learn how to meet the needs of others who also need to know they are not alone.
Vigilance involves a much needed effort to be watchful, specifically a careful watch regarding areas presenting danger or difficulty.
Few areas rival the need for leaders to be vigilant concerning their responsibilities, but this need extends to the leadership of others.
Leadership vigilance is about a careful watch…
…to the spiritual growth and development of each Christian entrusted to their care.
…to the physical concerns inside and outside of the church.
…to the influence of the church within the community where they live.
…to the missional outreach of the gospel to the lost of the world.
The list could address more but the direction is obvious. This watchfulness is critical to changing how others recognize our leadership.
The responsibility is great and when leaders are vigilant to the task before them they can take advantage of opportunities that are beautifully choreographed God.
The results establish four important building blocks: 1) it glorifies God, 2) edifies other Christians, 3) exemplifies a Christlike character, and 4) strengthens our faith.
A few steps and the practice of vigilance impacts the whole of our leadership.
We are all involved in sending messages by our words and actions. The question becomes: are we sending the right message? The key word here is “right.”
Leadership is about insuring the right message is received, but how can we be sure?
Use the right source for the message. When the world seeks for any message outside of what is related to God’s word, the right source for the message is beyond reach.
Build character on the foundation of that source. One of the most important areas, if not the most important, regarding our influence is character. It walks away from the grave after all else is gone.
Practice living according to that foundation. Everyone is watching and measuring our conduct of life by the profession of our faith. Make sure they align well.
Gauge each word by thinking of its impact in relation to the source. Learn to think before speaking and consider how our words can make a difference to those who hear them.
God’s word is the source and always the right message. God needs leaders willing to take that message and send it forth.
“Never be afraid to act. You never know how far away you are from your goal — sometimes just reaching out and putting in a little bit of effort can be enough. And, even if it’s not — you tried, and that’s far better than just sitting and waiting for a chance to present itself. If you want to achieve something you have to act, you have to take risks and you have to believe in yourself.” Author Unknown
Several other thoughts were pushed aside after reading this one. The last sentence is powerful and necessary for reaching the lost in the cause of Jesus.
Act: The Bible is filled with passages that emphasizes “doing” or “acting.” We cannot simply be hearers, but doers.
Take risks: If we are unwilling to take the risk and get outside our comfort zone, we may never develop the courage needed to change someone’s life eternally.
Believe in yourself: In a way, this is the hardest. We struggle with our own esteem and it hinders us from acting and taking risks.
God’s power must not be limited by our lack of confidence.