Friday, December 27, 2013

leading from the middle

The best leaders that I have met through my years of life and ministry have been those who are in the middle of what is going on.  I’ve met some who try to lead from the proverbial side-lines and others from their plush office.  In no way am I trying to cut down leaders, but this is my experience.

It is when I am with those I am trying to lead that I can be most effective.  Followers and co-workers need to hear from their leaders.  They need to feel the heartbeat of the leader and even get a glimpse of the passion that drives that particular leader.

Unless that leader is in the middle of the people it is very hard to lead.  I’d like to spend few minutes sharing some insights from Philippians 3. 

But before those insights I acknowledge that there are times when you cannot be in the middle of where the people are.  We have to have time alone with God.  Stay tied to and in the Word of God.  Be quiet in the presence of God listening and following.  Remind and even help those who lead you to spend those important times with God.

Let’s move on.  In the middle of the crowd there are some obvious things that can happen.  The Apostle Paul had the heart of God, and we ought to learn from his leading, planting churches and teaching disciples.

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

We have not arrived, and we as leaders cannot make or manipulate others into thinking that we have arrived, or that we are better.  What we must do is lead with confidence from what we have heard and learned from God.

Paul said, “I press on to perfection”.  That perfection comes completely and totally from Christ.  He leaned on God.  He focused on what matters and on who makes a difference.  Paul’s leading came from the middle and even out front from where those following where around him.  Paul applied the truth that he received from God.

One thing Paul applied was the fact that “his past doesn’t define him”.  If we apply that fact, we will leave behind what is behind and press on to the awesome future that is ahead of us.  He pressed on to touch Christ or to reach what God had in store for him. 

Another piece that Paul applied was the fact that “the future God has for us is incredible”.  Our best days are ahead of us.  Don’t try to manufacture what the future is for you, but let God guide and build the future.  He will give you, Paul believed, where you are to walk and how you are to lead.  You have to be with the people to lead them.

The last piece that I share with you that Paul applied to his leading was the fact that “unity among Christ followers is important”.  Unity is a choice, and as we follow God, apply His truth and work together that we will find the unity that God will provide for us.  People will find unity as they see their leaders practicing unity among them.  We cannot demonstrate unity or lead with unity if we are not with the people God called us to lead.

Are you a leader?  Then lead from the middle.  Apply the truth God has given you.  Let the forgiveness of God and your past be your past, and move on to the bright future God has for you.  The people that we lead deserve the best possible leaders.  I pray they not only hear my voice and feel my heartbeat, but that they are also influenced by the passion I have to make a difference in our community and beyond!

Pray for these:

Pray for our friend Jim Moss from The Community as he needs work and deals with issues.   Continue to pray for Carolyn Cassell, Tony Nichols, Jennifer Bradshaw, Sandra Jamison and others on your mind.  There are only a few days left for end-of-the year gifts to The Community Fellowship.  Please help us serve the hungry, hurting and homeless.  Give online at THIS LINK.

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