The Character of Leadership: FOUR questions everyone needs to answer to last in ministry
by Steve Gladen
1. THE IDENTITY QUESTION: Who am I?
- Moses knew and embraced who he was and who he was not. (Exodus 3)
- Moses was honest about his heritage and who God had created him to be, and he exchanged luxury and power for a life of rejection and humiliation’ and God honored him.
- God made you for a purpose; God has a plan for my life – unique to anyone else on earth (Jeremiah 29:11)
- Identify the truth of who God created you to be from the lies of what Satan and the world are selling.
TRUTH: Solving the identity crisis…
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
- The branch exists for the sake of the vine; it has no other purpose.
- Branches just hang around and bear fruit. When the branch is attached to the Vine, the Vine is responsible for the branch, and the Vine will see that the branch bears fruit.
- Your responsibility as a branch is simply to abide/remain in Christ (the Vine).
- Every day, you will choose whether or not to live out your identity (branch) and your priority (remain) for the sake of the Vine (Christ).
In light of who you are in Christ, answer the next question…
2. THE PRIORITY QUESTION: What is really most important?
“He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Hebrews 11:26
- The world values power, pleasure, and possessions. Moses valued God’s purpose, people, and peace.
- Personal disgrace for the sake of Christ was reasonable to Moses.
- Moses lived in light of eternity; he saw the bigger picture; he was looking ahead to his reward.
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:8
- Jesus identifies your top priority as God’s Glory! And the way you glorify God is by bearing fruit.
- The by-product is that you will show yourself to be Christ’s disciple.
- The key to bearing fruit (and thus giving God glory) is knowing who you are (branch) and remaining in Christ (the Vine).
Leadership Principle: Pray for a Big Picture mentality. Base your values on what you know to be true for eternity. Once you decide to follow Christ and surrender your life to Him, you’re in this for the long haul. People may disappoint you; they may misunderstand you and criticize you. But regardless of hard circumstances and hard people, submit yourself to loving Christ, loving His people, and looking ahead to your promised reward.
Questions: What do you value most? What implications do your values have to your eternal goals?
Now with your identity confirmed and your priorities set, determine your choices and responsibilities.
3. THE RESPONSIBILITY QUESTION: What will I do with my life?
“He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” Hebrews 11:25
- First Moses refuses the comfortable life because it was not God’s plan.
- The choices you make will determine your character and the state of your heart….and that will determine how much God is able to use you.
- Choose to identify more fully with Christ by accepting responsibility; every day you have the choice; your plans for you or God’s plans for you.
- You are as close to God as you choose to be.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4
- Jesus clarifies that your first responsibility is to remain in Him.
- What you do with your life will be determined by continually remembering who you are: a branch of the Vine.
- Understanding who you are will shape your inner thoughts, intentions, values, desires, affections and motives (all issues typically associated with character).
- Focus on remaining in Christ to shape your being to drive your doing, which results in producing either good or bad fruit. Galations 5:22 says that if you focus on the remaining, the Holy Spirit will take responsibility for bearing the fruit in you: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Leadership Principle: Remember that this is God’s small group, not yours. He is entrusting it to you as part of His plan for your life. Continually ask Him, “God, what do You want to happen in this small group? What can I do to better serve You and the people You have entrusted to me?”
Questions: What has been the focus of your life recently?
What has been the fruit?
Know who you are, why you are, what you’re responsible for, and finally…
THE PERSEVERANCE QUESTION: How far am I willing to go?
“By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27
- Faith is the prerequisite for spiritual leadership.
- Faith does not stop with the initial believing; you must persevere through life by faith (Colossians 2:6).
- Perseverance as a function of perspective: you will persevere to te end o=if you keep in mind Christ for who He is (the Vine), and keep perspective of who you are (a branch).
- Live for an audience of One: the “invisible” One.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” John 15:16
- God has chosen you and appointed you to bear fruit on His behalf.
- Remain focused daily on Christ and who you are because of Him.
- Don’t get side-tracked from your primary responsibility to stay connected to Christ (and bear fruit through the Holy Spirit). Only then will you lead others spiritually.
- Prioritize your life according to God’s values (like Moses) and persevere to the end by remaining (abiding) in Him.
Leadership Principle: Are the embers of your small group committed followers of Christ? Do they see themselves as branches of the Vine? Are they continuing to live by the same faith with which they came to Christ? Are you living by that faith? Keep it simple. Continue to live and lead by that same childlike faith. Take a small group meeting and teach your group the “abiding” truths in this outline.
Questions: What are the things that are in your way of ultimate faith and perseverance?
Other than the Holy Spirit, who is going to help you to abide in Christ?
Following is the twitter stream from this session from various tweeters…
There’s no movement without the first follower.
“The enemy of the best is the good”
Every movement needs a leader, but remember, it’s about the movement not the leader.
Often in ministry we don’t want to embrace who we are.
Embrace who God has made you… God wants you to be YOU!
God wants you to be original in your ministry. Big statement for us who are early in ministry
You never know who is in your small group and the destiny that resides within.
Identify the truth of who God created you to be from lies of what Satan & the world r selling
The branch exists for the sake of the vine; it has no other purpose. Jn 15:5
What we teach about tithing & God using our 90% we miss in our teaching about sabbath.
The vine will see that the branch bears fruit
We bear fruit for a season. There is a time for pruning.
Every day u will choose whether or not to live out your identity & your priority 4 the sake of the Vine (Christ)
God wants you to be an influencer. Satan wants you to be influenced.
Personal disgrace for the sake of Christ was reasonable to Moses.
Life isn’t always gonna look pretty. But there’s joy in the imperfections. -
In the game of life it isn’t going to be pretty for the follower of Christ but we can find joy in the imperfections of this world
The key to bearing fruit is knowing who you are (branch) and remaining in Christ (Vine)
Every day you will choose whether or not to live out your identity and your priority for the sake of Christ.
You want God to use you – glorify Him in the small things.
The third- the Responsibility Question: What will I do with my life?
Choices we make determine our character and the state of our hearts–that determines how much God is able to use you.
Are you going to choose your plans for you, or God’s plan for you?
You are as close to God as you choose.
God’s economy is not equity. It’s more about eternity.
How important are people? How far are you willing to go to reach them?
Faith does not stop with the initial believing.
Perseverance is a function of perspective