Friday, 19 February 2010

Great Leaders Do This

As we read the stories of the Bible we read the stories of leaders. Nearly all of these great leaders started out as ordinary people with little to no formal leadership training. But they share certain things in common. They all had a sense of destiny. They then had a sense of the importance of their part in history. But it seems that the great leaders did two particular things that made them exceptional. Today these two tasks are essential for a leader, whether it be a Dad or Mum, Employer or Team Leader, to becoming a great leader.
Firstly, they allocated. They allocated time (to think and implement) and resources to fulfil the task and provisions for the journeyConsider King David's leadership. We read in the Psalms just how often he would go out and look up at the night sky and ponder. We read at other times he would go into the Tabernacle to meditate on God's Word and pray. It was during these allocated times that he met with and heard God. Then consider how he prepared his son, Solomon, to build the Temple. David allocated resources over the years to make Solomon's job easier. We've just about completed a building project at Legana without borrowings. This would just not have been possible if over the past few years we had not been allocating funds - even though the amounts were not initially large - to make this project a reality. Too many churches are ill-prepared for the future because they have not allocated in the present.
First Chronicles 29:19 Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision.
As followers of Christ it is imperative that we allocate time to devote to pondering the things of God's Word. This "devotional" time is what helps prepare our souls to be able to more likely hear God's whispers.
Secondly, great leaders routinise. They develop routines. They are not erratic. When they get up in a morning they have their routine. During the day, they have certain routines. Certain days have certain routines. Certain situations trigger certain routines. Of course they are flexible enough to adapt their routines to changing circumstances, but look a little closer at a good and flexible leader and you'll see their routines. I remember going to hear Bill Hybels when he came to our city. Bill is one of the greatest pastors of all time with an amazing mix of leadership, preaching, and administrative gifts. But the thing that stood out to me when he was here was not the impressive display of these world-class gifts but: his routines. He spoke of doing his regular 5km morning walk by taking adavantage of the Zig Zag track at Cataract Gorge (one of the most beautiful walking tracks on the planet). He referred to his disciplined eating routine where he refused snack between meals and would not eat fatty foods. Having done a little bit of ministry travel in the past and with an upcoming trip to the USA in the next few weeks, I know just how difficult it can be to maintain home-grounded routines. But great leaders do. Who remembers seeing the former Prime Minister of Australia doing his morning walk no matter which city he woke up in? Leaders develop routines.
As followers of Christ it is imperative that we develop the routine of starting our days in fellowship with God through prayer and His Word. When we as a family sit down for a meal we have a routine. We hold hands and give thanks to the Lord for the food He has provided and for the company He has allowed us to enjoy it with. But there is a need for each of us to develop a private routine of devotion with Christ. Jesus called this routine of prayer and devotion our "secret place" (Matthew 6:6).
Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Allocating and Routinising are the two essential qualities of organisation. Organised people are able to get more out of their days because they don't have to waste as much time as those who haven't allocated a place for their car keys, shoes, or sunglasses, or wallet. It is my goal to become more organised. As my life seems to be getting busier, I find I must take more "time out" to allocate where I put things, how I save for those items on my wish-list, how I plan for my future and how I delegate. And I want to develop a healthier routines that save me time in the long run. I hope that in our church we have growing leaders who develop the abilities to allocate time with their teams and routinise procedures, training, and fellowship. I think this is one of our biggest challenges that we are facing. If we get it right, we'll continue to grow and the beneficiaries will be those people who are looking for hope, answers, love and acceptance.
Father, please help us to stretch and grow in ways that will bring us closer to Christ and better able to represent Him. By Your Grace give us the ability to develop the ongoing ability to allocate what You have already given us and what we will need for the future. Show us how to discipline our lives for Your glory by developing the kind of routines that will build your Word into our lives and cause us to grow stronger in our relationships with others and especially You. Help us to become increasing aware of the needs of others around us so that You can use us to minister Your hope, answers, love and acceptance to the many people You bring into our lives. In Jesus' Name,

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