Death. Without death- complete death- effective leadership is impossible. Impossible. How then do we attain this leadership if we must experience death? The answer is that we must first experience God and seek His will for us. The first step toward leadership, mainly godly leadership, is understanding that without God we are nothing. From there one can lead others solely on the power and the grace of God. So again, how can we achieve death if it must be achieved to lead?
Burn your dreams. Tear your heart. Shed your tears. Disappear. Die.
It is a painfully beautiful process to go through. I now can understand that. Christ died for me. Yes the world in its entirety, but let me just focus on what he did for me and how I must respond. Christ experienced terrible pain and the worst separation from God. Why? It begins with the rebellion of man trying to do things their own way separate from God’s perfect plan. I struggle with this still. I cannot lead others if I am not following God wholeheartedly. I must be wholly God’s first before I can even try to influence the lives of others. Recognizing Christ’s sacrifice in my stead, I need to stop fighting complete death. That was a painful realization for me. I have been resisting God; not all of Him but the areas of my life that I think I can control better I have failed to hand over to God. As a leader, I am not following God very well. Christ says we must daily pick up our cross to follow Him. Ultimately that means that we must give up control to God and allow for him to work in and through us. Death in Christ means releasing our dreams, visions, and passions all to God.
We then become nothing. That is exactly where God wants us to be.
God breaks us beautifully. He refines us in the fire. Nothing is left but the true form of what God intends to use from us. The core of leadership means understanding the principle that daily we must go through death and once again allow for God to take control. From that point God will use us to impact the world, not by our power or skill or ability- remember we are nothing. God will take the nothings of this world and proclaim His glory and power through them. God uses our circumstances and experiences in our lives to use in our testimony to His name. That is the beginning of leadership. I recognize my weaknesses and areas that I am incapable. At some point in leadership, especially if I am choosing to die and be nothing, I decide to be different. I cannot change the world unless I stand out and that will only come from constant intimacy with God. With the restoration and intimacy with God, a true leader can only lead well if they find others to walk with them. Leaders must be in teams. That is how God so perfectly designed us. We were never created to do anything alone, but rather to rely on the strengths, the gifts, and the talents of others, His creation. Then, and only then, we will begin to change the world. That is only the beginning.
Smile. Everything is new. Dream again. Have passion.
As leaders living to exemplify Christ in all things, we must dream. Vision is key to changing and impacting the world. We must pray and seek God. In His time He will reveal a vision that is true for you. God often times takes us out of our comfort zone in order to bring us to a new level of obedience and reliance on Him. But in those moments God births vision in your heart and nourishes passion in your life. He gives a calling to those who seek it. In that vision, that passion and the calling, God will give opportunity to mentor and disciple others. It is important to continually testify to God’s grace in life. Encourage others to also stop fighting complete death. Be humble and selfless. Remember again that you are nothing. God is the one that brings you back from death. Serve God wholly in the direction that he guides with the team he provides in whatever culture or country he places you. That is true leadership. Learning to die and allowing Christ to resurrect you to something new and more powerful then what we could have done alone.
[thoughts on leadership while in Bobbio Pellice, Italia in the summer of 2009]