This article continues from “The Strength that Eludes the Leader (Part 1)” (Rev. Dr. Philip Huan)
3. GOD’S JOURNEY WITH YOU: CONTENTMENT & JOY-QUOTIENTS
When I faced resistance from people in a consultancy project I was working on in a church, I felt stressed by the emotions involved. But as I prayed, I remembered that God had called me to this work. I also saw a vision of a huge rock, inside which I saw an angel. This reminded me of Renaissance artist/sculptor Michelangelo, when he said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free”. As he sculpted the rock, the angel would take shape and form and become a masterpiece! I felt God say to me, “Philip, there is great goodness in these people which I want to draw out. You need to be patient to see it with Me and partner me in drawing it out”.
God has sent us as leaders to bring out the best in the lives of His people. It will take time, patience, sweat and even tears. But it is a joy to hope and see them become the best God calls them to be. God wants us to delight in this hope, be content with the pace God moves with us, and enjoy this journey with God. In fact, someone one said, “God would rather have you stop work, rather than work in ministry partnership with Him and not enjoy the journey”.
Remembering the hope for change, and enjoying this partnership with God brings joy and renewed strength!
Some ways to enjoy your ministry:
i. What are the friendships God has given me through this season?
ii. What is the hope of the difference I have made through this season? What is the hope and dream I have for these people by the end of that season?
iii. How can I delight in obeying God and walking with Him despite any hardship?
iv. What can I give thanks for, thus far, that God has done?
Paul, our pioneer in Christian ministry, reminds us, “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that the work of the Lord is not in vain!” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
4. GOD’S TENURE FOR YOU: HOLDING LOOSELY TO YOUR MINISTRY
We used to play a game when young: at the playground, we would hang on the “monkey bars”, and see who could hold on the longest. As muscles ached and hands chaffed, inevitably one by one would release the bars and fall to the ground in exhaustion. After some time, we observed a pattern: that those who hung on tightly in one position were the ones to fall first. On the contrary, those who hung loosely, throwing their weight to one arm and then the next, shifting position to bring momentary rests to each arm could last longer.
I see a spiritual parallel in this: those who hold their ministry loosely, willing to surrender it to God, often have the tenacity to last the longer haul. There is a need to have a long-term vision and dream in one place to see it comes to pass. However, I submit to you that when one sees every season as God’s gift and tenure, which God may give or take away in His timing, gives us greater tenacity to last through a particular difficult season to see God’s work fulfilled.
Some ways to appreciate God’s tenure for your ministry:
i. What has God called me to do here, and how long is that season?
ii. What legacy do I want to leave by the end of that season?
iii. How can I come to love these people such that I want the best for them?
iv. When is the time when there is someone else better equipped to lead them than me?
Rick Warren, in the early years of his ministry, once wrote, “Lord, bless Saddleback Valley and reach them for Jesus. If there is ever someone who can lead this church better than I, please remove me and put that person there”.
Poignant words from a high-impact leader who has led and endured for the long haul!
5. GOD’S STYLE FOR YOU: LEADING FROM WHO YOU ARE
I would like to spend a little more time on this last aspect as a conclusion to this article.
All leaders have different personalities & values. Although there is a great need to learn of the various styles of leadership, I submit to you that we are best when we lead from who we are:
Skill: a leader who leads from seeing the overview and moves to align goals to meet the objectives.
Values: decisiveness, clear direction, priority and alignment.
Impact: wins respect from others by “heading in the right direction”.
Skill: a leader who communicates passion, vision and the dream God has put on the heart of the organization.
Values: fun, bonding, passion, energy and inspiration.
Impact: sets hearts on fire and wins people to a dream.
Skill: a leader who builds teams and bonds people as “family”.
Values: relationships, faithfulness, care and friendships.
Impact: warms people’s hearts to love and deep relationships.
Skill: a leader who strategizes and aligns plans to “build bridges” that help people move toward that objective.
Values: integrity, growth, practical guidance and honesty.
Impact: win the confidence of people through viable plans of guiding people towards their destination.
What type of leader are you closest to?
Which values are you most in sync with?
As students of leadership, we should learn of the various traits and grow/train towards as many of them as we can. However, I am convicted that a leader leads best when he honours the way God has made him and trained him by engaging all of his strengths, personality and values. I have observed occasions where when a person who is not strategic tries to leverage strategy, it often blows up. When a leader who is not forceful tries to leverage decisiveness and personality strength to lead, it often blows up. When a leader who is not a people-person tries to leverage relationships and good-will to lead, it may backfire. In other words, I submit to you, notwithstanding the need to train and grow in all aspects of leadership, ultimately a leader still leads best by leading from the strongest, positive aspect of the leader’s values & personality as his center.
When one seeks to lead from the personality and values that one espouses and holds to, such a leader is true to himself, and marshals the best of who he is. Such purity lends passion and strength to work and task of leadership.
What was David’s leadership style?
From young, David always had the courage and leadership style to command and inspire even strong personalities to follow a vision in his life.
In his fight against Goliath, though young, his ideals could be seen when he declared, “what will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” This vision was the beginnings of the inspiration for the armies of Israel.
In a later battle, David had a group of mighty men of valor and great skill, each of them likely a strong personality in their own right. Yet, of their own initiative, they broke through enemy lines to get David a drink because of a mere longing he voiced. His courage, vision and skill inspired even the strongest and most talented of soldiers (2 Samuel 23:8-39)
It is likely that in the kidnapping of his men’s families by the enemy, David used the same skills of vision, courage and inspiration. What defined that moment was David’s ability to lead at his best and still be true to himself in a time of great pain and hardship.
In that situation, David was in even worse trouble. There was talk among the men, bitter over the loss of their families, of stoning him. David strengthened himself with trust in his GOD. (1 Samuel 30:6 Msg)
Whatever you may face today as a leader, may these disciplines help facilitate God’s strength that you may strengthen yourself with trust in your God, to lead at your best and be true to yourself in the best and the worst of times.
By Rev. Dr. Philip Huan
 I am unable to recall the source of this reading, except that is was probably one of Warren’s early writings on church growth.
 These descriptions are visualized through the DISC personality grid developed by William Masterson & Walter Clarke (1978)
 The variety of skills that a leader may train to grow into is described in my article, “The Practices of Leadership”.