Silly Idea, Great Reminder   Leave a comment

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook a quote from a book he read, and with this post came the instructions of grabbing the book nearest you, opening it to page 56 and posting the 5th sentence as your “status.”  I just happened to have in my hands a book that I had planned to revisit – Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley.

The sentence said, “Failure is a part of success.”There are some profound thoughts that grow from that.  This may be the chief reason why I had plucked this one work out of a thousand or so books in my library to read again.

I think that all leaders experience dry times.  It can be caused by any number of things; stress, finances, relationships, jobs, etc.  My family and I have had our share in recent months.  To avoid great details, ours dealt with finances, health, and my parents’ health.  Some of these issues are still big issues, but how I’m handling them now is not nearly as troublesome as before.  I am just coming out of one of these “dry times.”

Personally, when I experience these dry times, it usually affects my confidence level in leadership more than anything else.  I should probably attribute this to some disorder or admit that I just don’t always handle my own stuff very well.  But this is simply how it works out in my world.  What this “sentence” did for me was remind me of how I’ve been acting lately – timid.

God’s word plainly teaches that He did not create timidity in us, “…but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline,” (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV).  When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he was sharing heart-to-heart from one leader to another.  He was also sharing with me.

If failing is part of success, then how does this happen for Christians, or particularly Christian leaders?  It has everything to do with boldness, with vision, with risk-taking, with openness of spirit, and with faith that goes far beyond worldly comprehension.

It also has much to do with what we define as success.  If being successful means filling our churches with people like ourselves, then I fear that our definition is terribly distorted.  If failure along the path toward God’s vision is perceived to be so devastating that it means no chances shall ever be taken by the church again, then I fear that our faith is horribly lacking.

Developing vision is not the same process as setting goals.  Goals are attainable, achievable objects.  If something can be achieved without faith, then it is a goal.  Building something new or adding to your facilities is a goal.  Praying for more people to come to your church is a goal.  Generating “touches” in your community is a goal.

Vision is daring to dream of what and how God moves in our world.  If we can fully involve our hearts in the God “…who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV), then what is reached is a combination of goals and vision.  Perhaps we can label this as “God’s will.”

Discerning God’s will for new facilities and how they will be used for His glory is visioning.  Praying for more effectiveness in reaching people is visioning.  Setting your sights on touching one heart at a time is visioning.  Vision spawns mission.  “Vision” is what we feel led by God to do and “Mission” is how we feel He is leading us to do it.

One thing is certain, even if our definition of success is misguided, nothing will ever be achieved without effort.  Effort comes when we know the Mission.  Mission should be directed by Vision.  Vision is inspired by Faith.  Faith should therefore be the driving force of how we lead and motivate others to follow.

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