Follow The Light Into Courageous Leadership
This past month, several of our Life Spring Network and LUKE team members had the privilege of attending a leadership conference called the Global Leadership Summit. Over two days, we heard a wide variety of stories and songs from all over the world with a common thread: following God’s grander vision to raise the bar of leadership wherever we’re planted and live into the abundant life God desires for each of us.
As God guides us to seek wise counsel, these voices spoke Biblical wisdom, as an occasional mentor would. I thought I would pass along some of the highlights, and as I pray the wisdom blesses your life, I trust by faith that He will.
The two-day conference began in song, and some of the lyrics that so aptly launched the event were: “for YOU”, “brave”, “all we’ve got”, “steady light”, “raise the beams” and “who shall we assemble to make the darkness tremble?” These phrases seem to shape a perfect prayer as we set out this very day, in surrender to our Lord, to pick up our crosses and carry them to His glory.
Father, for YOU, we bravely look into your steady light and power up with your Spirit to give all we’ve got to love others into unity that raises the beams of your light and make the darkness tremble!
Not so coincidentally, this grander vision of leadership is the reason I believe Life Spring Network was commissioned by God. For the last ten years, LSN has been blessing churches with an ever-evolving list of services and resources, all laser-focused on God’s mission for our lives. Many of our pastors speak with us about vision and mission. They’re often in agreement on our Christian mission being “to go and make disciples” (Matthew 28). But strategizing and executing a plan to work on mission can be elusive.
Is God’s commission to make disciples a process of programs and specific list of steps to take? No. While the process will take form (action through programs and lists), the process of discipleship is through RELATIONSHIP. Love from God becomes loving people in our calling of servanthood by the power of the Holy Spirit in us (love from God!). If the steady light we prayed about above (God) is not the empowering presence of everything we do, then that’s sin.
So then, hopefully, we go back to the beginning: surrender to God and let Him empower us to love people. When God answers our prayers, and as our eyes are opened to what God wants to do through the gifts he has given all of us, what do we do? Do we find ourselves stuck? Instead of the darkness trembling, which is what God promises will happen, are we so fearful that we can’t move forward? Is our potential stifled by confusion and chaos? Is our potential stifled by religious striving? In many churches today, the answer is yes. In many people today, the answer is yes.
In my life, before I engaged in an intentional journey of discipleship and opened myself up to covenant community, I didn’t realize how important it was for me to be ready to share what God is doing through my life right now…to look into and let His light shine. I was more concerned with keeping the inevitable darkness and the pervasive chaos hidden, all the while pushing the Spirit away and stifling the reproduction of who God created me to be (discipleship). Does God need to use me? No. Does God choose to use me? Yes. “Be fruitful and multiply” comes early in the Bible, and Jesus adds the parable of the talents. Those are just two of the many passages that show God’s desire for our hearts freely given to Him. And what beauty He makes of our chaos! Looking into God’s light will cast vision on WHO matters (God), empower us to love people and to keep on keeping on (faith).
Your faith will open your eyes to God’s grander vision, inevitably draw followers (leadership), and as you welcome God’s training in righteousness, His guidance will produce growth – all to His glory. As He grows us, His love overflows to others, and the reproductive cycle of discipleship continues.
But as God continues to commission us to lead, leadership can be uncomfortable. Leadership requires growth in relationships, and relationships are hard. Danielle Strickland writes in her book, A Beautiful Mess; How God Recreates Our Lives,
“Leadership may feel more like holding on for dear life in the middle of a storm than a position of untouchable optimism. Undoubtedly for a leader that is a lonely and dark place, deep with questions of self-doubt concerning the lack of right qualifications to really be the leader, and a fear of ‘what might happen if we don’t make it.’ The skill of a leader is to recognize this as ‘chaos’, part of the cyclical process of chaotic order, and the source of creativity and growth.” (page 32)
Where God guides, He provides. If you’re feeling stuck, fearful, discouraged, confused or chaotic right now, go back to the beginning. Recall your love for God and how He called you to Himself in the first place. Pray, and welcome the LIGHT back in. Look for the relational changes that God is empowering you to make. And, if you need a partner in faith, call us at Life Spring Network (630) 259-8438 or visit www.lifespringnetwork.org.
Father, for YOU, we bravely look into your steady light and power up with your Spirit to give all we’ve got to love others into unity that raises the beams of your light and make the darkness tremble! Amen.