Tele-Seminar – Beverly Lewis and I discussed Kingdom impacts in an interview, “Have fun, make money and love people.” Listen to the recorded version here. Ray Edwards and I did a second interview that is just as good. Both are about an hour and give a great summary of marketplace ministry.
Leaders in the church, as well as in business, politics, and even the home, often operate out of a control/authority model. They follow this pattern:
1. See a problem;
2. Figure out how to fix it;
3. Tell the people what to do;
4. Expect the problem to be fixed.
This version of leadership is fatally flawed for many reasons. Primarily, it kills people’s motivations because it ignores one simple fact of human nature: in the final analysis, people do what they want to do, not what they’re told to do. We were simply not designed to remain mindless servants. Leaders who operate from the “God-is-a-force” mentality tend to lead from the authority/control model. In the process, they suck the life out of their followers by taking them away from their hearts, trying to make them work against their natures. These autocrats pick a path, issue orders, expect results, and when they find disobedience—whether in business or in the home— they fire their employees or spank their children or rebuke their spouses. We must stop pretending that people can be treated as commodities. It doesn’t work. Rather than imposing His will, God likes to work within our hearts, changing our desires to match His from the inside out.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and
be careful to keep my laws. (Ez. 36:26-27) See also Heb 8:10, 10:16
There may be times when leaders must demand action from their people, but, for the vast majority of the time, effective leaders help people motivate themselves. Many Church leaders I know suffer from a common malady summed up by the tired lament: “Nobody is following.” Most business institutions have enough negative incentives to make people generally do what they have to do, whether or not they want to. They either work and marginally prosper, or get fired and join the ranks of the unemployed. However, that isn’t true in the Church. The threat of fire and brimstone doesn’t scare people these days, so godly leaders have to lead in the way that God leads. Here are a few suggestions based on the biblical leadership model for all leaders.
1. Reading hearts – Knowledge of what to do isn’t really the first thing a leader must have. Most followers already know what needs to be done! Leadership starts by understanding what’s in the followers’ hearts. As a parent, the most significant thing I’ve ever done was listening to my kids and learning where their hearts were. Until I know their hearts, my leadership tends to be too dictatorial and they resist. If I can hear a follower’s heart and know how they perceive me, then I can help them find a motive to follow the Lord. Just telling them what to do bypasses their God-given responsibility to be self-motivated, and it ignores my true responsibility as a leader to know my people.
2. Be bold in pursuing hearts – Kingly fathers, mothers, leaders, and husbands must have the courage to explore the hearts of others and help them find a motivation to obey God. It’s a lot easier in the short-term just to tell people what to do, without connecting with their hearts and getting your hands dirty…but eventually it just builds a wall. We serve a generation that has been burned by autocrats who stayed on a pedestal and never knew their people. A connecting church starts with leaders who can connect. Kings will not expand God’s Kingdom in the marketplace until they can relate at a heart level.
3. Let emotions flow – People are emotional and they are powerfully motivated by their emotions. Connecting with people means connecting on an emotional level, which may feel messy for those of us not comfortable with our own emotions. As leaders, we are often more comfortable with a sterile environment. Connecting with people’s hearts can be more like changing a diaper than designing a computer chip, but one is a necessity for the other. Get your hands dirty! I’m an engineer who was raised on a ranch in Montana. I’m not comfortable slobbering my emotions all over the counseling room floor. But I’ve had to learn that even God experiences emotions. Hence, we can know that it is part of our God-given nature to have to connect with our own hearts and the hearts of others.
4. Respect people – Leaders often become leaders because they think they know what needs to be done, and they are ready to tell people what to do. When expectations are not met, however, it’s also common for leaders of any type (managers, husbands, fathers, pastors, etc.) to get mad at their people for not following their directions. This is another problem with the authority/control leadership style.
Here’s what I’ve learned in my own life as a pastor. People will respond to God’s plan when the time is right. If people aren’t following my plan, I need to look for a flaw in my leadership first, before accusing them of rebellion. The timing and the approach of my plan may need to be tweaked, or maybe I’m just plain wrong—a far more common occurrence than other people failing to respond. I don’t follow the whims of the flock, but I do try to hear the voice of the Shepherd. The truth is that all of God’s people can hear the voice of the Shepherd about as well as I can. Even in our national government, democracy works because the public is a lot smarter than some leaders would like to think. God respects people and so should we.
5. How to ask questions — Doctors often begin their diagnosis by asking, “What hurts?” The answer guides their next step. While the key to leadership is knowing people and connecting with God’s leadership, this process starts by asking questions. When we ask people questions and allow them to question us, we acknowledge that they have a free will. This is the same way God deals with us.
“Come let us reason together, says the Lord.Though your sins be as scarlet, I shall make them white as snow.” (Is. 1:18)
Jesus taught His disciples largely by asking and answering questions. The real goal of godly leadership is to connect people with three simple things:
Your kairos moment (kairos is the Greek term for “present”) – What is God doing through the present circumstances in your life? It could be anything from blessing to discipline, promotion to character development. Seeing God in our present circumstances is a huge step toward relating to people in a way that helps them relate to God.
What’s written on your heart – What is the gifting in your life for the kind of ministry and motivation that you have? What are the desires God has written in your heart? Where do your heart and God’s heart overlap? If we can connect people with their larger purposes in life, then all the preparations start to make sense.
What’s on the Father’s heart – Most people do want to please God. When we can help them connect with a credible plan that includes their ability to hear God, they will respond to God. Everyone is wired with a deep hunger to relate to the Father and please Him. We’re created with it. Motivation has roots in the individual calling that God gave us. Leaders really can’t motivate people just by telling them what to do. Leaders can connect them with their destinies and their own God-inspired motivations.
Your Initiative – Have you captured your destiny in writing? Are you intentional about fulfilling your purpose in life? Here are some practical suggestions on connecting with your own heart and tapping your Kingdom purpose to have fun, make money and love people.
- Read Releasing Kings and Desire to Destiny (See our store page or Amazon.com).
- Get the free newsletter and connect on Face Book to stay in touch. We use Skype to talk to people all over the world. Staying in touch is a huge dynamic.
- List to the sound… Beverly Lewis and I discussed Kingdom impacts in an interview, “Have fun, make money and love people.” Listen to the recorded version here. Ray Edwards and I did a second interview that is just as good. Both are about an hour and give a great summary of marketplace ministry.
- Go through the coaching module and clarify your dream – we can help you if you’re stuck.
- Get connected with a coach or mentor who can help you take the next step.
- Create the wealth and convert the money into your ministry dream to build the Kingdom.