Leadership Questions For Life

MAY 13 - SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Leaders can be defined in many ways depending on what area of life or organization we talk about. But what makes a good leader and how can one work toward great leadership? What are the deeper roots for leaders? Here are a few questions to consider that will help regardless of what kind of leadership role you serve.

Do I feel called to lead?

What I mean is do you find yourself leading? Stepping out and taking charge? Or living with a “must” act or do “something” passion? This is what I would consider the “call” to lead. We are all leaders to some degree as parents or friends. There are people we influence and affect as we speak wisdom and knowledge into other’s lives. Sometimes we just end up in leadership while other times we step up into leadership. Either way, is there a deep unquenchable desire to make something happen? If so, you may have the call to lead.

Am I qualified to lead?

This could be from an educational, experiential aspect or perhaps through consistent mentoring and training within a company.  There are definitive qualities that organizations will set forth as they look for the leader to helm the ship. On a deeper level,  there are certain core values that leaders must possess and maintain as foundations for their leadership to be effective. What are your values and character like? Are you qualified? Can you become qualified?

What is the vision for the future?

Leaders are meant to burn and to blaze. Leaders should be trailblazers leading the organization into the wild unknown.  As Proverbs 29:18 says “where is no vision, the people perish”, thus underlining the importance for the leader to cast vision. Do you have a vision of what could be? Would your vision be capable without you stepping up?

What is my passion?

Passion is the fuel that not only ignites but burns within the leader, motivating the leader as well as the team. Feeding the fire and being the one who fans the flame are both required for those who want to succeed in leading an effective team. If you don’t know what you are passionate about, don’t take a position on the team. The leader must know and be able to articulate with emotion what the passion of his heart is.

How do I really feel about people?

Some people simply want to be a leader because of the power and the prestige. Before taking on the role of leadership, be aware of how you really feel about people. Do you sincerely care about their futures? Their dreams? Their hearts? Or are you more concerned about yourself? The leader’s ultimate assignment is to care for people. Do you equip and empower people? Or do you feel like people just get in your way? How do you really feel?

Do I spend time with people?

It’s really hard to lead people when you are not around people. Leadership is not about sitting in an office, setting protocol and making money. Leadership as most people define it would be relational influence. The more time you spend with people, the more meaningful the relationship. If you don’t spend time investing in people in some tangible way, it will be very difficult to amass a following of committed people. The people who will carry you into the future are the people who feel like you are sincerely committed to them.

Am I growing personally?

Oftentimes the business world is most concerned with the bottomline. Leaders who do not grow the business, coaches who do not win championships, usually find themselves out of a job pretty quickly. One of the things that makes leaders effective over the long haul is to be personally growing and developing. With culture changing nearly every year, leaders must adapt and adopt new practices, technologies and evaluate everything that’s “old”. Someone once said: “Leaders are readers” and reading is essential to growing. Leaders can also use podcasts, audibooks, or group roundtables to enhance their growth. In this time in history, there is no real reason for a leader not to be growing.

Who am I leading with?

The days of the Lone Ranger leader are gone. Transparency, accountability, and integrity and on the short list of qualities people look for in bonafide leaders. Having a “posse” who rides along with you through life, keeping you on the right path and “getting your back” when the heat comes is highly valuable as a leader. The question is, are there people who want to lead and do life together with you? Find those few people and do all you can to keep them close.

Do you know your weaknesses?

Ignoring weaknesses is something leaders may be tempted to do but rest assured Satan knows where and when to attack. Not only knowing but preventing and strengthening weaker areas is something effective leaders must focus time and energy diligently. Pretending there aren’t weaknesses in leadership or within the organization is a recipe for disaster. Do you know where you are weakest? Are you doing something about it?

These are just a few questions that I find helpful. How about you? Share your thoughts in the comment area.

George Profile

George Lockhart is the mission and creative arts pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA and a missionary with Vision 2 Hear ministries.
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Observations Of A Prodigal #4

Prodigal

“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ Luke 15:17-19

Centless And Senseless.

When he came to his senses. Why is it that sometimes it takes losing a whole lot of dollars to bring us to our senses? And not just dollars but opportunities, relationships, and friendships? It’s not surprising that the boy came to his senses, I mean they should have all been working well: the sounds of pigs squealing, the smell of manure, the feel of mud in-between his toes, the sight of a pig pen, the taste of humble pie. Sometimes the only way God gets our attention is when we begin to pay attention to our surroundings. It’s been said often, either change your environment or your environment will change you.  We must muster the courage to really look and admit that we are not where we want to be, need to be or were created to be!

This boy was the heir of a wealthy man. He was not made for this. And neither are we! We are heirs to the King of Kings, yet often we live like pigs. We live for so much less than what we were created for. It’s time to quit the nonsense! Maybe that’s it, you have no sense: no sense of direction, purpose, meaning in life. Maybe the joy, the pleasure of the Father’s house is a distant memory. What has to change?

At Last Will.

Well, his will was where he started. He asked for the father’s last will and testament but now it was his. He had to “die”. He had to lay aside all the earthliness and become one with the earth: a servant. He was willing to identify with the meekest, humblest, of His father’s employees, just to be back in his father’s care. How much more for us? It’s easy for me to think that I can or will only serve God in certain ways. But this is not the case. One who is a servant has no say in what, when, how, where, things get done. They just simply follow the wishes of the Master.

Back To The Beginning.

He went back to where he started. There are times when this is impossible but when it is possible, I think it’s very important! Go back to where you started off wrong. Figure out why you went down that path and make the necessary adjustments so you don’t do it again! Backtracking can be a great tool to keep us from backsliding! I’m sure as the boy traveled back home, he remembered certain parties, women, “friends” that helped lead him astray. The trip home was a lesson in remembering how much he lost. He grew from this time traveling back home. He became wiser, more mature, and turned his loss into gain.

Don’t Pay Out Without A Payoff!

I must admit that I have wasted invaluable lessons by not taking time to learn the necessary lessons God had for me. Let me encourage you that in each difficult time you pass through, make note of the mistakes; no sense in paying twice! You wouldn’t do it at the store, why do it in life? Turn your pain into gain. He came to his senses and made his mistakes pay off!

EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER WANTED IS ON THE (2)

Can you think of a time when you made a serious mistake? Do you remember how you felt? What you ate that day? What you were wearing? What you were listening to? What you were watching?

How about now? In a place you don’t like? What senses is God using to reveal that to you? What senses is God using to reveal Himself to you?

Does anything make sense to you right now? How much nonsense do you have in your life?

Where do you want to be? Need to be? Where are you created to be? Has God’s sense revealed that to you? If so, why have you not obeyed?

How much of your will is still alive? Why not let your last will and testament be to please God in everything?

Have you ever died to your flesh and sinfulness? How do you die daily? Are you more dead than alive?

How have you changed your environment for Christ? Has your environment adversely affected you? How does your environment reflect your current standing with God? Do you think it does reflect your standing with God?

If you could go back to the future, where would that be? What mistakes would you fix? What do you need to take a mental journey back and take note of? What lessons can you pass onto someone else?

Is there any way that you are paying twice or three times for something? Why not end the trend now? How can you make your mistakes pay off? What will you do with it?

Devotionals For Leaders: No Clones Allowed

no clones allowed

As leaders it’s vitally important that we encourage people to be like Jesus and not try to make them “like us”.  God has created each person as He likes and gifted each one uniquely and differently. This means that each and every person is not only a one-of-a-kind but created with intention and purpose. And that purpose is not to be like you or me but like Christ. God is not into making clones: No clones allowed.

Be careful of putting demands on people that God doesn’t place on them. As leaders we push people toward Christ, not pull them toward us. We compel people with Christ, the real Christ, not our version of Him. People become like Christ when we lift Him up and not ourselves. People don’t want to hear or see us; they want and need to see Christ. As the Greeks said in this verse: “Sirs, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:21)

When Jesus was dealing with “sinners”, His command was simply “go and sin no more”. Jesus never gave them a list of things to do to feel or become more spiritual. He simply told them to go and live life to the glory of God. Jesus’ way of life was far beyond a spiritual discipline. Jesus is the only standard by which any of us should measure.  Just because someone doesn’t do life with God the same as I do, does’t mean they are not right with God. As a leader, the goal is not that everyone become like you but that everyone would be like Christ. And Jesus was more concerned about loving God and loving others; serving them and modeling a relationship with His Father than the rues of the Pharisees.

Our goal as a Christian leader needs to be seeing Christ formed in those around us. Yes Jesus had “spiritual disciplines” which He did consistently, but did Jesus ever give any other other “discipline” outside of loving God with our heart, soul, mind and strength or neighbor as ourselves? Sure the disciples prayed and went to temple and they knew Torah but these were not requirements to following Him. These were not even things that made His disciples, His disciples.  In fact, several of the “disciples” failed out of the religious school and were sent back home. Jesus didn’t call His disciples to follow Him into a routine of spiritual disciples. Rather He introduced them to routinely seeing God at work among them. His call/command was to follow Him and He would make them what they were meant to be, i.e. “Fishers of Men”. Jesus will do the same with our followers but we must trust God is making them and not we ourselves.

There is liberty that comes from obedience. Helping others know and understand the word of God is part of our role as a Christian leader. However, we are not to weigh people down with this kind of “yoke”. Jesus told people to take up His yoke as opposed to the yoke of the Pharisees because His yoke was “easy and light”. (Matthew 11:28-30) What did Jesus mean by this? I believe His intention was relationship. As they walked with Him, they would learn. They would grow in relationship not in or by rules. They would become like Him and not like the Pharisees. They would hence know God instead of trying to become god.

Helping people grow in love and wisdom is better than teaching a set of dogmatic rules. In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul admonishes them to do all things with love, otherwise it benefits them nothing (1 Corinthians 13). Presenting truth can be done without demanding people that people learn it or apply it the way you do. Our opinions as leaders may be important but we should never become so caught in them that we forget to demonstrate grace along with “truth”.  Christ has commissioned us to make disciples but this is not the same as making “clones”. God is not looking for clones or even “converts”. He is looking for “little” Christs.

Devotionals For Leaders: By Invitation Only

07 - 10 - 2015

“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19b

They went back to work with the family. It’s just what you did when you didn’t cut it. After years of studying and training, the rabbi sent them packing back to the family trade. The fishermen found in Matthew 4 were not cut out to be rabbi.

As they are going about their daily routines of mending nets, clearing them of rubbish, they simply do what they were “good enough” to do. They weren’t smart enough or “clean” enough to be considered rabbi material, so there they were doing the only thing they were “qualified” to do. Enter Jesus.

Jesus comes walking along and simply extends an invitation for them to follow Him. Without any hesitation, they leave their family and their family trades to do what they had dreamt of doing since they were little Jewish boys: be a rabbi!

Whether you know it or not, you were created to serve God. You were made by Him and for Him. And even though the rest of the world may not believe you cut it, He believes in you! You may be the last in the class. You may have failed too many times to count, but Jesus still calls you to come and learn from Him. To follow Him. To change the world.

On that glorious day, Jesus walked close enough for them to hear Him extend the invitation of a lifetime. They took Him up on it. I don’t know about you but I sure like to be invited. There’s nothing worse than the feeling that you’re not wanted or welcome. These guys were the outcasts of their time, the rejects, if you will. But here they are now with an invitation from the very Son of God!

How incredible is it when we realize that God has extended a personal invitation to each of us to join Him in His world and His work? Just as God has called you, believes in you and has entrusted things and people into your care, would you extend the same invitation on behalf of the Son of God? Would you be the voice in the storm of rejection and failure that says you’re still wanted and welcome? The fact of the matter may very well be that more people would be willing to join us and God if they simply felt invited. 

Spend some time praying about the people that God wants you to invite into a journey with you and Him. Pray about the people that God wants you to extend the invitation to do life together.

Final thought: Sometimes all it takes is an invitation to change a life.

Quiet Time: Thoughts And Reflections On Prayer And John 14:12

Quiet Time

. . . I say to you, he who believes in Me, . . . greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father —John 14:12

Why is prayer so difficult for me as a follower of Jesus? Because I have become accustomed to life in an instant society. Prayer as a discipline does not yield instant results. Much like general exercise or even intense workouts, the body is pained, energy expended and the results require weeks before the transformation may be noticed. But be assured with the practice of such discipline, there are results!
Prayer is difficult for many of us because it requires much initially, leaving a sense of void or even emptiness. In many regards prayer is “work”. Yet it is the work that yields great results in time and moreover in eternity. It is through prayer that I connect with God, tapping into His power and presence so that I may understand His heartbeat and desires. True prayer is actually communion with Christ and in those transactions of petition and requests, I become transformed because I gain understanding of His will. In prayer I am taught as a child, hearing His Father’s voice of instruction and direction.

Make no mistake though as prayer is also a battlefield in which territory is gained or lost. The man who doesn’t pray, seeking God’s face has already lost. Prayer is a daily defense against the sinful desires and devilish attacks we face. Wherever I am, I can employ this silent weapon of force and overcome the onslaught. But I must pray!

Paul tells us to pray regardless of our situation (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In all things, I can pray and encounter Christ through the Holy Spirit and walk in communion with God. This means that I have to look at where I am as a holy place and time to encounter God. Wherever I am is a place where God can use me to be a laborer in His field if I am a pray-er. God is not surprised by my location, circumstances or issues. In His sovereignty, He is waiting on me to seek Him prayerfully and to become open as an agent of transformation.

God has great ideas and dreams for me which can only be discovered through prayer. Seeking Him continually and laboring in prayer will allow those dreams to come to fruition. Taking sincere time to pray in not just an investment in my future but an investment in eternity for all those that God wants to affect through my life. There is no greater power than God’s Spirit moving through the humble prayers of God’s people.If I want God’s work to be accomplished in me and through me, I have to spend more time in prayer…it’s that simple.

George Lockhart

 

Crafting A Legacy

legacy

 

At church this week, we heard a sermon on Legacy. It was a good sermon and topic for Father’s Day. I’ve thought about this before myself and when I did a little research on the old English word,I found out something interesting.

Often when we define the word Legacy we immediately think about what we leave behind. It’s kind of my mark or fingerprint on humanity and if not humanity at least family. But the concept is much richer and fuller than you know.

The old English word was used when people were left behind in a brand new location to start a new way of life. They were basically being sent into the future as opposed to being left behind. When I considered this idea of legacy, it really changed the way I looked at life and how I lived.

As disciples of Christ we are to prepar people for the future that God wants for them, not just leave behind good memories or even godly stories. Yes of course we are to model Christ but the concept is not about the past: it’s about the future!

How would you live differently if you started thinking about legacy as the future you are helping your kids create instead of the stories you are leaving behind?

Three things about crafting a legacy for the future.

Invest in talents, gifts and abilities your kids possess.

As parents, mentors and coaches we need to develop the skills kids have. This takes a keen eye along with much patience and practice. It’s important that we notice and encourage what they are actually good at and desire to do as opposed to having them live out our dreams for them. Helping them develop their passion is just as important in helping them develop their profession. What a joy when both can happen simultaneously!

Prepare your kids with real life skills.

Yes it’s important that they know how to have fun, excel in their sports etc. but they have to have experience with real life skills. Teaching our kids how to deal with finances, doing daily chores, and interacting with other people are things that will essentially make or break them in the future. We have to make sure they can function in society, knowing how do properly deal with money, deal with people, deal with loss and success. These real life skills require teachable moments and sit-down-and-talk/training times. Schedule it and make it happen if you really want to create a lasting legacy.

Teach kids about conflict resolution.

There is going to conflict. Where two or more people are, there will be conflict. Teaching our kids how to resolve conflict is critical for their successful crafting of their future. So many students truncate their futures because of the inability to properly deal with conflict. Instead of handling things with grace and clear-minded judgement, they turn to violence and feed anger. Teaching them how to navigate the murky waters of conflict must be part of our teaching and equipping them for the future.

Leaving a legacy is challenging but crafting a meaningful legacy can be done with intelligent choices and intentional living.
These are just three things I see as essentials for creating such a legacy. What do you think?

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGeorge Lockhart: seeking to become a wholehearted follower of Christ

Discipleship: An Immediate Response

follow me

18 As He was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. 19 “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for[j] people!”20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.

Matthew 4:18-22

Upon reading this passage, it’s easy to see that when Jesus called the disciples their response was “immediately” (v20, 22). The response intrigues me some. Certainly these men were involved in their work, family businesses and making a living. Aside from the fact that it was Jesus calling them, what would compel them to such an immediate response, without hesitation, abandoning everything? Here are a couple of things to consider.

1) It’s what they had been waiting for.

As a Jewish boy, their hearts and minds would have been conditioned to become a Rabi one day. From their earliest years of school, they would have learned the Torah and studied the scriptures. They would have seen the Rabis everyday and revered them not only as teachers but role models. These fishermen would have grown up waiting to be selected to become Rabis but this “calling” was reserved for only the best of the best. By these men being at home, mending nets, working with their families means that they were the modern day rejects. They were sent back to do their family business because they didn’t pass the tests that would have made them another Rabis disciple. So when Jesus comes along and calls them to follow Him, they don’t consult or confer with their families…they get up and go because it was what they had been waiting for all of their lives!

2) It’s what they had been training for.

Even though they knew their family business, for years on end, they were memorizing studying and being tested on Torah. Day in and day out it was listen to your Rabi, know your Rabi and look forward to being with your Rabi and following in his steps one day.  Little did they know that all of their training, both with their Rabis and their families would be used by God. When Jesus passed by He told them He would make them “fishers of men”. Jesus’ call was not dismissing their skills or belittling their family business moreover, He was looking to employ every aspect of their lives for His glory. They got up and go with Him because it was what they had been training for all of their lives.

3) It’s what they had wanted.

Ultimately, the disciples respond to Jesus’ call because it was what they had always wanted. They simply wanted to be chosen. Jesus comes along and chooses them and they need nothing more in order to drop it all and follow Him. Being called meant that someone saw something in them. Not only did Jesus see what they could become, He saw their desire to become like Him. That’s what they wanted and it’s what Jesus wanted. Even though the response was immediate, the result was not. Thank God for His patience with all of His disciples…myself included! Jesus’ call was not conditional upon who or what they were at that moment…it was all about what they wanted to become. They had been waiting, they had been training, but nothing compares to desire. They left it all and followed Him because it was their greatest desire to know Him and be like Him. May we endeavor to do the same.