September 14, 2015
There aren’t many leaders... but there are lots of posers.
Vision. Strategy. Assignments. If you’ve been around me in the context of The Master’s Program, you’ve had that trilogy drilled into your thinking. If not, you are rightly curious. What’s up with that?
I’ve declared those three elements as key indicators of real leadership. Find where those essentials are sourced within any community – or, team – and you’ve found the wellspring of real leadership. Vision answers the “Where are we going?” question. Strategy addresses the “How will we get there?” confusion. Assignments gives the “If I’m part of the team, what am I supposed to do?” inquiry a clear response.
If that’s important for an enterprise, it’s important for an individual – or, a couple – as well. Proof: a constant string of books, cable programs and magazine covers that propose some version of the “10/1000 Things to Do/Places to Visit/Experiences to Share Before You Die” feature. People who want to live an extraordinary life are on the lookout for Vision and Strategy that takes them places seldom visited by the people who just go with the flow of the crowd, or settle for going back to the same comfortable place – or activity – year after year.
Cheri and I have operated for decades with a new-adventures list, with a commitment to check ‘em off as frequently as we can, replacing them with a next wave of nominees. We fear life becoming a “second annual; let’s do it again” replay. No “Next Adventures?” No vision. No vision, no amazing future…
The same thinking holds importance regarding the part of life that connects with Eternity. What we address in TMP under the consideration of Kingdom Calling warrants the same kind of intentional leadership as the professional and personal aspects of my lifetime on Earth. When you get serious about maximizing your Eternal Kingdom existence, what kind of hot list makes sense?
Evangelicals aren’t a political target group; they’re serious Christians who are marked by three key distinctives: they embrace the Authority of the Scriptures, the Necessity of Conversion and the Responsibility of the Great Commission. What happens when you hitch those to the qualifiers for leaders?
It means, in my life, that I must have Vision, Strategy and Assignments in mind for my role in God’s game plan – namely, the “Great Commission” – to reach “market saturation” (the whole world) with His “core product/service”(the offer of forgiveness and salvation through the Cross of Jesus Christ, which He called “the Gospel”). If I took that approach with my business career (and, I did), and I do that with my personal life today (which I do), how can I explain one day – to Him – that I failed to employ the same intentionality with Him?
My hero – Paul/Tentmaker/Apostle – was laser-focused. He spent two years in Ephesus. During that time, his scribe – Luke – reported that the entire population of the region had the chance to hear Paul’s message and decide for themselves. When he completed his mission in that key city, he left behind a church with the people who accepted his message about the Authority of the Scriptures and the Necessity of Conversion. How did he know it was time to leave? He made his criteria for exit clear to the church’s elders when he said: “…Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God…” (Acts 20:26-27).
He had said everything he had to say, and he had said it to everyone he was responsible to reach. He could leave with closure; he would exit with integrity.
Maybe you have a “10 Things to Do…” list. Here’s a question: do you have a “10 People to Reach” list, as well? If you are to be “innocent of the blood” of those closest to you, what would that require?
Paul took on the responsibility for the Roman world of his day, one regional hub at a time. He kept his career – tentmaking – active as a funding source, but found the time to get the Gospel message in front of entire populations.
Your message is your story, found within His Story. Your audience is your network of family, friends and acquaintances. If you have a Vision for people you care about joining you for dinner, for the evening… shouldn’t you have a Vision for them joining you in Heaven, for Eternity?
“The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed” (Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission).