The trouble with growth….an observation

Whether it has been me having a hand in helping something grow, or watching something grow, I have made an observation.

There is a consistent problem that arises in the growth cycle of any organism….. It comes to a peak. It’s not that the peak is such a bad thing, in fact the peak always brings celebration. The trouble is that directly after the peak comes the decline; furthermore, you don’t recognize that you have peaked until after you have already started the decline.

So here is something I think you can do to turn the decline into a new trajectory for a new peak. CHANGE. Change how you do things, change what you read, change your environment, you may just need to change everything. You should always be willing to scrap your model of how you do things.

The trouble with growth is it will leave you in a spiraling decline if you are not willing to change.

3 of the biggest points on leadership I have learned.

I have been in some form of accountable leadership since I was 20 years old, most of it outside the church. I will be 33 in 4 days. 13 years isn’t a great deal of time, but it is enough time to accumulate a little bit of experience, and learn a lot even though I have a lot to learn. I have been in a lot of different positions, and I have learned something different in all of them. Time in service management taught me the need to define what you are good at, and what you are not good at as well as the scramble to step up, and grow into something you weren’t quite ready for. Time as assessment coordinator taught me that qualitative measures are just as important as quantitative measures especially in terms of people. Team leader, manager, coordinator, etc all of these positions which were outside of the church taught me something. However, the time I have spent learning from Jesus and the people He has placed in my life, and learning to be the person He wants me to be, and discovering who/how/what He wants me to lead has taught me more than any of those positions.

So here are 3 big points.

  1. Doing what you are good at is what adds the most value to the leadership team, the people under you, and the organization. Finding yourself in a position that requires you to work from your weaknesses is detrimental to you, and everyone involved. I’ve been there. Don’t seek positions that are not a good fit for you because you want money, authority, or anything else. Money, and authority lose their appeal when you are miserable.  Jesus doesn’t have weaknesses, but the 12 did, and so do you. Do, and continuously grow in what you are good at, and align yourself with people who have strengths where you have weaknesses.
  2. Authority does not equal competency. Just because you have authority over someone does not mean you have higher competency than they do. Just because you are over a department does not mean you understand the operations of that department as well as the people who work in it everyday. Don’t just do everything yourself. Let those who do it better than you carry it out. When making decisions lean heavily on the advice of those who are making that thing work everyday. Better yet empower them. I’m not talking circular, and redirection, until you get them to do what you want. I mean actually empower them. Remember you have weaknesses, look to others with competency, and look for other perspectives. Most are of the persuasion that one singular person has to have veto power. I tend to disagree. No need to riot or anything, I am just not sold on that yet. 2 are better than 1, a 3 strand cord is not easily broken, and 5 are even better. (Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) Each perspective brings a fuller picture, and a better decision.
  3. Every leader needs someone to follow. Being in a battle by yourself is a terrible place to be. NFL quarterbacks are elite, and they have to be good on field leaders; however, they all follow coaches. Remember authority does not equal competency. The coaches are not better quarterbacks, but they do have a different/broader perspective. It is invaluable to have someone to turn to, and lean on when you are not sure what the next step is, or when you are struggling.

Three condensed points from someone who still has a lot to learn, but is able to pull from some of my experiences, and what I have learned so far.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

Influence is better than authority

It can be said that leaders have both influence and authority.
Authority-the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.
Influence-the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone.

Be intentional about exercising your influence far more often than your authority. Great leaders build people not just accomplish goals.

Position, Title, Status, Authority.

What position are you seeking in the Kingdom? What title are you after? What kind of status symbol do you want to be? How do you want to be remembered? Are you a leader now? Important questions for those of us that want to live Kingdom first.

As people we have a desire to create structure, rank, and authority. We then want to climb to the top of the structure, have the highest rank, and carry the most authority. Sometimes we put ourselves on the bottom of the structure just to hold onto the highest rank so we can have the most authority. Meaning sometimes we try to mix the culture of the Kingdom with the culture of the world.

Authority should not be what we are chasing as we walk a Kingdom first life. We should be trying to influence. Let’s define the words. Authority-the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience. The place that I want to exercise my authority is over the enemy. I do not want people to look at me as the one that forces their obedience, and orders their life. That is counter Kingdom. Influence-the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone. I do want to walk in this capacity. I want to influence people for Jesus, I want to influence in ways to connect them to their purpose as wells as help them as they walk out their purpose, and advance the Kingdom.

Let’s look at what Jesus said about it.

Luke 14:10-11

10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

It’s not the position at the top, or head that brings you honor in the kingdom, it is your humility in choosing the lowest position.

Luke 20:45-46

46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

They had position, title, status and authority, but look at what they did with it. Instead of influencing people for the Kingdom, they used position, title, status, and authority to devour, and tear down.

Luke 22:24-30

24 Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. 25 Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27 Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.28 “You have stayed with me in my time of trial. 29 And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right 30 to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Who is the greatest? the one who takes the lowest rank. Who is the greatest? The one who becomes like a servant. Jesus is the greatest of all, and He was among us as the one who serves.

Your title, position, or rank may give you authority, but it will not give you influence (forcing compliance is not influence), and as a side note it is simply your identity in Christ that gives you authority over the enemy. Your title, position, rank, or authority does not make you great in the Kingdom. Who is the greatest in the kingdom? The one who becomes the greatest servant.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi