It’s late Wednesday evening and I’m finally back home. This morning I headed out to Evansville for a 10:00 am meeting, then worked the balance of the day there, and returned home tonight. Normally, with the workload I have to accomplish, I might have even stayed down there for the night and returned home tomorrow. But tomorrow is already committed – to one of my favorite events of the year. In fact, it’s difficult to believe that it’s already been a full year since we attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, broadcast live here at our local church.
This event provides our annual rejuvenation when it comes to leadership. As most of you know, I am intimately involved with senior leaders all year long and then, in early August each year, I get to kick back and just listen to some fabulous interviews and messages on leadership for two days. Even Janet gets amped up and I kind of plan my leadership year around the fact that I get to “fill up” my leadership tank each August. So it should come as no surprise that I am coasting into the Summit this year on fumes – the same as I do every year – looking forward to being rewarded with the idea of letting leadership lessons just wash over me.
Andrew will be joining us again this year, and I hope that one of my business associates will also spend time with us the next several days. It’s great to be able to process all this as a team. But the main point of the post this evening is that the Bible has quite a bit to say about leadership. It is one of the spiritual gifts that Paul talks about and he warns us that each of the “gifts” requires specific traits to maximize their impact on the world.
The verse for tonight is from Romans 12:4-8, the foundational section of Scripture for the Leadership Summit. Paul tells us, culminating in verse 8, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
In the Message, a paraphrase of the Bible that I really don’t like to use on a regular basis, we are told in verse 8, “if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.” While this is certainly modern day language that doesn’t seem too biblical in nature, there is a huge amount of truth in cautioning leaders about becoming manipulative. It’s one of the traits that I see more often than I can count.
My encouragement this evening is to discover whatever spiritual gifts you have that God has endowed you with. My prayer is that you will find ways to hone your gifts and use them to the glory of God and the advancement of the kingdom. That’s what I’m going to do this next several days. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…