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Leadership Development: The First Thing


by Leadership Network: As you journey into developing as a leader, you will find so many great resources. From podcasts to books to conferences and beyond, there are tons of materials out there, many of which we recommend and use ourselves. With all of those tools right at our fingertips, however, it is easy for us to become somewhat mechanical in our development. Our nature lures us towards “5 Steps to…,” or “6 Ways to Become…,” etc. Those things are bad, per se, but I want to talk to you today about the status of your heart.

Where is the Holy Spirit in the process of your development as a leader?

The most important factor in your development as a leader is your relationship with God (the complete trinity). You’ve likely read and preached on scriptures like Matthew 6:33 which says, “But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things [all that you need for life] will be given to you as well.” Take a little personal inventory. Have you allowed these passages to lose their luster in your life? Have you become complacent in this area of seeking Him first? If so, realize you are not alone. Ask the Spirit to give you a new revelation of these passages.

Are you truly spending time with God and growing?

There are so many ministry leaders who read the Bible for the sole purpose of creating their message for the week or in preparation for the weeks ahead. Worship leaders fall into this trap as well. You get caught in the trap of listening, singing, or playing worship music for the sole purpose of finding the next song you’re going to introduce to your congregation. Am I right? Understand that your personal time with the Spirit has to be set apart from your church preparation. It just has to. Your intimate relationship with God is the first thing!

Is the Spirit flowing through you?

As a leader, you likely have several spiritual gifts and many talents as well. I’m going to tell you right now that you can use those gifts and talents and hold steady. But ask yourself, do you genuinely want a move of the Spirit in your church, or are you ok with emotionally manipulating your congregation to get a particular response? I know that’s is a difficult concept to wrap your mind around, but think about it. If you are leading on empty, you might just have enough charisma to keep people coming back and listening to you. But genuine spiritual growth may not take place in the lives of those you lead, and you will eventually burn out from leading through your own power and not His.

The far better alternative is keeping your eyes and your heart tuned into the Spirit. You will grow in your love of God. His Word will be like a fire in your heart just ready to burst forth, not only on Sunday but all week long! Just imagine the possibilities if you decided to truly partner with the Spirit in everything you do! Your church, family, and other relationships will be forever changed.

What does it really mean to seek first?

Ultimately, it all comes back to those spiritual disciplines: prayer, studying the Word, fasting, giving, etc. You have to get back to practicing those things regularly apart from ministry preparation time.

I want to encourage you to get this right. No matter what you have to do, whether it means setting your alarm 15-20 minutes earlier or going to bed earlier to be fresher in the morning, refuse to allow another thought to enter your mind until you put your mind on Him. Seek Him first by praying even before your feet hit the floor if you have to. Surrender the day and your time to Him at the beginning of the day and throughout it. And get some precious moments alone in His Word. Choose days to fast and make it about spending time with Him.

These are all things you likely know already, but we have an enemy who doesn’t want us to do incredible things to build the Body of Christ. If he can get your eyes focused on anything and everything besides Christ, he will. He wants you to be distracted, frustrated, and distraught. But he is not your King and Master, and God has given you the ability to overcome!

This week, in particular, as we come to Good Friday and Easter, focus on Jesus and His resurrection power! Many of you will be telling that story on Sunday. For the next few days, tap into the reality of the Gospel–the incredible truth that our Father loves us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place. We know the story doesn’t end there. Three days later, Jesus’ lungs fill with air and His heart begins to beat again, and for 40 days He revealed is resurrected self to the world around Him. And because of all of that, we become the adopted, chosen children of God!

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