Your Philosophy of Leadership: Who a leader IS versus what a leader DOES

Are leaders born or made? Yes. Are leaders be-ers or do-ers? Yes. Although a case could be made that being effects the quality of doing more than doing effecting the quality of being, both are inseparable. So let’s not polarize them artificially.

Bobby Clinton in his outstanding book, Focused Lives, defines a focused life as:
• a life dedicated to exclusively carrying out God’s unique purposes through it,
• by identifying the focal issues, that is, the major role, life purpose, unique methodology, or ultimate contribution, which allows
• an increasing prioritization of life’s activities around the focal issues, and
• results in a satisfying life of being and doing.

Both being and doing are an integral part of a satisfied life. Let’s consider both.

Navigators have been known for a strong commitment to the Bible (all that the Hand illustration teaches–click here) as well as deep interpersonal relationships (man to man and accountability partners). These two components are indispensable for growth in “being.” Foundational memory verses like 2 Tim 3:16 and Heb 4:12 teach us that Scripture is a vital part off deep personal change. Life on life learning, a Navigator hallmark, is key to processing truth in a safe relationship. The component of transformation often missing is the essential work of the Holy Spirit.

Although never stated as such, much of my early Christian life was built upon the trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Scripture. Frankly, the person and work of the Holy Spirit is deficient for many believers. What I did not grasp until in my 50’s was that the transformation process spoke of in passages like Rom 8:29; 12:2 and 2 Cor 3:18 teach that people CANNOT transform themselves no matter how hard one tries but only participate with the transforming work of the Spirit. Our being or becoming is the primary agenda of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Therefore, how well we learn to partner with the Holy Spirit (yielding, not grieving, but walking in) determine our rate and depth of change in being.

From the early days of The Navigators, there has been a rock solid commitment to the advance of the Gospel—the Great Commission. Learning the skills of “doing” a quiet time, Bible study, evangelism, follow-up, disciple-making, equipping of laborers, etc., have equally mark those called Navigators. In fact, we often hear testimony from those in churches and Christian organizations that if someone has had Navigator training they are solid in their ministry skills. Yet, within The Navigators, we hear far too often that growth in one’s ability of “doing” decreases significantly after appointment as a Nav Rep. Why do we plateau rather than continue strong in life-long learning? Why do we not intentionally cultivate latent spiritual gifts and natural talents? People committed to serving well over a lifetime must not retire from learning to do.

We long for the day when all staff are sharing with one another their development plans for both being and doing. What growth goal do you have in the area of your character? With whom are you processing this arena of growth? What ministry skill are you developing to greater proficiency? How aware are you of the resources available on the learning and development website ( and would you value having a coach to help you? Each of us are responsible for our life-long learning in being and doing. Make it so!

Next Blog: Historical Approaches to Leadership.


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