Wednesday, March 31, 2010
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010
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What The Young Leaders of This Next Generation Need.
I was able to spend a weekend recently with a group of 92 men of valor. Their ages ranged from about 18- 70, and they represented more than 10 nations. It was a safe environment for all to come together in a deep relational way to discuss the issues of today, the church of today, and the direction we need to be moving towards for tomorrow.
I particularly took notice of the leaders in the generation that is coming up after me. They are passionate, and they are committed to living a life for God’s glory. They are radically in love with Jesus, and just as radical about changing the impotent ways of what they perceive about today’s Christianity. They want to be a part of birthing real communities that increasingly look more like family, and less like corporate America.
I also was amazed at how talented these young men were and how equally they were wrapped with humility. One has preached in over 450 cities around the world, and yet was amazed at Father’s continual use of Him. This young man has no formal Bible education, He just knows Jesus. He does not have degrees or pedigrees, but He is filled with the Spirit of God. Even at a young age, this man has been wrecked in a great way for the Kingdom of God.
Here are just a few of my take-aways from our time together…
They just want to be heard!
This generation carries a much-needed voice for today. We need to hear the sound of God through their perspective worldviews. They are not perfect, but are being perfected. They remind me of David’s 400 men, who all at some level had been marginalized or had lives of no reputation. The Holy Spirit inspired each of them for the King and the Kingdom, much like these young leaders of today.
This generation of leaders is not enamored by stardom, but by righteousness, authenticity, and humility towards God and mankind. Many of them commented that they do not look up to leaders who desire “Superstar Status”. They do not want to be viewed as merely armor bearers, because they have their own purpose, and want to engage in the battle. They want to walk beside those they can learn from, and fight alongside them the good fight of faith. They will serve leaders that seek to serve and not seek to be served.
Many of these men are looking for fathers of the faith that will be real with them. They want dialogue, they want the truth expressed through real relationship, and not some religious hierarchical chain of command. They want leaders to answer questions that they may be afraid to ask. They desire intimacy with leaders who live transparent lives that manifest the idea, “Into me You See”
Kingdomized Gender Equality
The married men grasped the fact that their wives were partners in every possible way for the Kingdom. In some cases their wives might even have a greater public voice or influence than themselves, and they were okay with God’s will in such matters. John Wayne is not their hero, Jesus is, and Jesus gave women the right to be and to do all the things God may call a man to do. In the Kingdom of God there is no male or female, but obedience and recognition of each one’s calling and assignments. These men get this. The single men there are trusting God to reveal their partners one day, and have the heart to allow their partner to flourish in all the things of God.
Another quality I observed was the amazing ability to honor those in authority, but with an incredible lack of fear towards men in authority. There was honor and yet little fear. One young man was also writing a biblical research paper to one of his mentors to challenge some paradigms and ways that may not be God’s best. They do not fear tomorrow. They are passionate about how the Father may use them to bring solutions to humanity in whatever part of the world the Lord sends them into.
Our Father is speaking to fathers
We all must do everything we can to embrace the young men and women who will lead the future generations. Some final thoughts:
- We must repent if we have gotten in God’s way in how we have related and imparted to them
- We must set a new course in how we relate with them going forward.
- God is making it clear that He only wants one Superstar, and that is His Son Jesus. All other Superstars, please step down. God has proven that He can make a way for you to step down if you need it, but please listen to His voice today and step down.
- Remove the fear of man from your life, ask the Lord and seek wise counsel if necessary.
- Have a righteous fear of God, and only obey His voice for the training of these young leaders.
- Ask the Lord for His perspectives regarding how you may be choosing those you are working with. Have you disregarded some based on human understanding?
- Do all for the glory of God and remove all hidden agenda’s.
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Luke 22:24-29 24Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me.
Jesus just had a wonderful and final time of fellowship with His team, the team that had walked beside Him, witnessed the signs and wonders, and should have had perceived by now that the Kingdom of God was not like the kingdoms of this world. But human nature took over, and thoughts of power, control, and status led to a dispute among them.
We see the same dispute today all around us. Those who have been called to lead, want to collect servants, and do not understand that they were called to lead like Jesus Himself, AS ONE WHO SERVES, and release servants to the world. As a whole I think we can say, “Ouch, we somehow missed that memo from Jesus, and now must be determined to make the shift towards His likeness, and His desire for all of us.”
It is way past the time for godly leadership to make this shift. “Top down” methods must give way to Christ’s “Bottom Up” mandate. Here is how it works, if you are a leader, you go low, and stop propping yourself or your agenda up. You choose to go way low in serving and lifting up the heads, hearts, and vision of others. Do this, and Father says, “That is the Way the Truth, and the Life my child, and you are now Kingdom great.” Of course that is presupposing that most of God’s people want to live their life as a Father pleasers, like Jesus did.
Many leaders who were supposed to be informed have now become those that need to be reformed. Reformed in the Kingdom. Reformed in mindsets as to being as one who serves, rather than expecting lights, the red carpet, and an entourage of servants. Reformation, and actually transformation must take place, and can only happen with willing and humble hearts.
Think of leadership as the process of setting people free to do the best work they can, while the Holy Spirit whom you have released them to, guides them. It is not about you, it is about the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory of God, and unleashing others into that Kingdomized place of freedom. We do not own anything, but we are called to steward everything God has given us.
Many leaders on the world’s scene are getting this and becoming successful by releasing others to be and to do. Phil Jackson has made a “Hall of Fame” career by following a few principles of this truth. In his career, Jackson has gone from coaching the record-setting champion Chicago Bulls to the present NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. He says his principal task is creating an environment in which his players can flourish. In communicating with his championship teams, Jackson convinced them that they had the talent to win championships and that the main goal of the coach was freeing them to use that talent.
In businesses today, team members say they want, more than anything else, the autonomy to do their jobs without the boss’s interference. Empowered and trusted, their productivity soars. Nearly a decade into the new century, it’s already clear that the CEOs of our best-run companies believe that the more power leaders have, the less they should use. They become facilitators of principles and let people manage themselves within those values.
The job of a leader is to help others hear the voice of God, train and prepare them, and release them into strategic vision and mission opportunities. People need to feel safe and valued as a Kingdom citizen to fulfill God’s destiny for their life. In other words, people will flourish in God when a leader seeks to serve, rather than be served.
The key to authentic leadership is to listen to those within your community, and then open the door for them to lead themselves into God directed service. The secret is education, training, and empowerment. The main incentive is genuine love, caring, and recognizing the need for every member to be free to serve in the sphere’s of society the Lord has placed him or her into, while being part of a relational and missional community.
A good leader recognizes that every believer is called to do great things for God, but was not called to do it alone. So the leader gathers, serves, facilitates, and prepares others for Kingdom service, and rolls up their sleeves and works alongside them. It is rarely what the believer does in a building on Sunday, but what they are released and empowered to do daily. The more decentralized and relational a community can be, the freer they are to move in the power of the Holy Spirit as a unified Body of Christ.
Lord, may leaders understand the power of strength and honor for every single person. That they might lay down their agenda, for your agenda, as your people rise up “As One” who serves!