Category Archives: Heart

Leading Like Jesus

This new series of blogs will address the first function in our Navigator Core Model of Living and Leading like Jesus—to LEAD. The definition used for leading well is to intentionally influence and enable people to accomplish a given task. The words in this definition will be highlighted in subsequent blogs. A key principle to keep in mind is that every Christ-Centered leader should ensure that those one serve are being led well.

Like the Disciples of old, followers of Jesus today should give focused attention to understand how Jesus led. Leaders should then seek to follow His model if for no other reason than Jesus’ leadership has stood the test of time and influence. If there were more Jesus-style leaders today many social, economic and health-related challenges would have alternative solutions.

Why are there not more such leaders? I suggest that the cost is too high! Jesus said that His kind of leading is sacrificial—and not in comfortable ways. Humble sacrifice is not generally modeled in businesses or churches or Christian organizations. Nevertheless, as the Holy Spirit progressively transforms followers of Jesus into His image we cannot help but learn to lead like Him.

So, what is the Holy Spirit seeking to produce in a person when it comes to leading like Jesus? The only firm foundation for effective leadership is valuing and nurturing heart transformation through the fruit of the Spirit. Without an internal sense of conviction and integration with biblical values, the practice of leading will always fall short of influence and impact. The last blog was devoted to the topic of heart transformation and, although worthy of much more focus, this series will transition to the core responsibilities of a leader.

Leadership is multi-faceted. Of the many possible functions of leading well, four overarching responsibilities are prominent (under which most other responsibilities can find a home). These four functions will be explored in subsequent blogs: setting direction, aligning resources, inspiring and motivating, and managing people.

1. Jesus came and lived for a purpose—to glorify the Father by providing for the salvation of mankind, modeling how to live a life pleasing to God, and training a band of men who would in turn lead a movement. He had a clear sense of direction and set it.

2. Jesus never made a big deal of finances (where we normally default when thinking about resources) in His teaching of the Disciples. What He did make a big deal about was knowing the available resources and stewarding them well. In order to align resources to strategic needs, one must value the inventory.

3. In three years Jesus was able to recruit a band of men and women who so believed in Him and His message that they were willing (and many did) to die for Him and His great cause. He had amazing ability to influence through inspiration and motivation—something every leader must understand and live regardless of natural talents or lack thereof.

4. It has been observed that Jesus never asked His Disciples to do something they had not already been prepared to do through watching His life or understanding His teaching. For people to thrive they must be managed well. Management or supervision can either be empowering, abusing, or neglecting by assuming that people will figure out success on their own.

As the LEAD function of Jesus-style leadership is explored only the surface will be scratched. Hopefully, the scratching will reveal an easy to remember outline and uncover a rich arena for further study.

Next Blog: Setting Direction

 

 

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Heart Transformation

Around 1979, while a seminary student in Dallas, I met Bill Lawrence.  He would become a long time friend and influencer.  In particular, he impacted my life on the topic of formation—leader formation.  This recent blog of his so encapsulates a message much needed today that I wanted to share it with you.

Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken.

Transforming the Heart

Nearly three hundred years ago, Jonathan Edwards wrote one of the greatest Christian classics of all time entitled, Religious Affections. By “Affections” Edwards meant the deepest desires and drives of the heart. For Edwards, this is what our faith is about, and, while he doesn’t need me to confirm him, I believe he is absolutely right. I also believe his perspective is missing in today’s thinking.

Edwards said, “. . . no one is ever changed, either by doctrine. . . or by preaching or teaching of another, unless the affections are moved by these things. . . . there is never any great achievement by the things of religion without a heart deeply affected by those things.” (p. 22).

Sometimes I think this concept is missing from today’s seminary training. I fear many graduate with the impression that their task is to inform the mind in what may be an unintended conclusion because the students are too young and immature to grasp the real point of what they’re being taught. It’s rather easy to inform the mind: it’s simply a matter of learning techniques that make our teaching accurate (exegesis), clear (transitions), interesting (introductions, word choice, illustrations), and relevant (application). Do that well, and you will inform the mind. But transforming the heart is a radically different reality.

Only a transformed heart can transform the hearts of others. There is no way around this reality, no matter how hard we strive to avoid it. Simply put, transforming the heart is a personal matter, a matter of radical internal change in me, not a standing outside of my listeners as I tell them what the text says but an entering into what the text means from the deepest part of my being. This demands that I allow both the text and my listeners into my heart, the text first with its burning power of conviction and transformation from the Spirit, then my listeners as I take them into the struggle of my transformation so they can see what this means for them. It’s as if my struggle and pain become contagious, a communicable experience of growth that results in significant growth in them.

That’s what Paul did in passages like Galatians 2:20 or Philippians 3:1-14 or Romans 7:1-25. Through his autobiographical vulnerability he showed how his heart had been transformed and even now, 2,000 years later, he motivates us to move toward transformed hearts. You see, we must keep the main thing the main thing. And the main thing, as Jesus showed us, is transforming the heart. No method will do this, only a man with a transformed heart. But can’t women do this? Of course. Women do this without needing any exhortation. It’s men with invulnerable and closed hearts that must be exhorted, who must be called from the fear of being known to the freedom of a transformed heart.

From “Transforming the Heart” on www.leaderformation.org/blog 

The Broken Leadership Blog is about changing the leadership conversation from what we are doing with our hands to what God is doing through our hearts.

 

 

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Filed under Heart, Life Messages, Transformation