6 Strategic Shifts That Every Growing Leader Needs to Embrace

6 Strategic shifts that every growing leader needs to embrace

Over the last three months Simone and I have recognized that there has been an increase of pressure applied to our lives. This pressure has come in many forms but it’s clear that God has allowed various circumstances to arise to test and prove our level of maturity as leaders.

God already knows the condition of your heart, but often we don’t so God will allow challenging circumstances to arise in our lives to help us see what is really in our hearts. This is to help us become what He wants us to become. When you feel pressure, know that it’s not intended to crush you. God wants to use it to crush the impurities out of you, so what’s left is pure gold.

This testing brings growing pains. In a season of testing, make sure you get perspective on your life. If not, you’ll respond negatively to your circumstances. Talk with someone, specifically a mentor if you can. There’s power in mentoring. You need more than 1 mentor, as each person will contribute something different into your life. Listen to and ask people about their ‘story’ because people’s stories give you perspective on your situation.

I have discovered that there are strategic shifts you must make if you are going to graduate out of the season of growing pains into a season of effective ministry.

The word shift means to change from one position to another. It means to move from where you are to where you need to be. Leadership requires shifts of all kinds at various levels. There are constant shifts each of us need to make. E.g. in ministry, with people, resources, etc because the essence of leadership is inspiring people to move. A leader is someone who moves people from where they are to where they need to be. Moses was called to lead and move Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land.

In order to become more effective leaders publicly, we need to make the shifts internally. We want a culture of growth and learning in our church. Unless we make the internal structural shifts in our spirit and in our lives, we’re not going to be able to make the external, public shifts in our leadership that we need to make. This is where leadership is won or lost – in our hearts, in the area of our personal lives. Leadership flows from the inside out.

There are 6 strategic shifts that you need to embrace if you are going to grow as a leader : 

1. A Pressure shift – from comfortable to chaotic

The sign that you are entering into a growing pains phase is an increase of pressure applied to your life. The making of a leader – by Robert Clinton is a great resource to help you understand the boundary events that mark specific transitions in your life journey.

Pressure will be applied to transition you from where you are to where God wants you to be. Pressure is the amount of force applied to something/an area. A large amount of force/pressure will be applied to :

1)    Your schedule – You need to know that pressure will be applied.

2)    Your relationships – marriage, kids, friends.

3)    Your capacity

4)    Your finances

In this pressure shift you’ll feel overwhelmed with what’s being expected of you. There’ll be a tendency to emotional extremes. You’ll feel like your spiritual insides are about to explode! Generally you’ll respond in one of 2 ways :

1)    You’ll push harder

2)    You sideline yourself

Often how you respond will be based on your personality. Either option isn’t going to help you grow! The answer often is go contrary to what you think you should do. Work less but spend more time with God.

Your work becomes God-time. When you face a pressure shift from the comfortable to the chaotic, go and hide away in your prayer closet – that becomes your work! If you don’t get God’s perspective in a pressure shift you’ll crash.

2. A dependency shift from yourself to God (Read 2 Cor 1:8-10)

    Recognise that you are absolutely inadequate for the task you face. You must arrive at that point, or else you won’t see the fruit and breakthrough you want to see. Get over you!!

    Recognising this requires an attitude of humility. God will never ignore someone who humbles himself before Him. Loosen your grip on what you can control and trust everything to God’s sovereignty. Don’t meddle with the details and try to control the details of your life! 

    Focus yourself on God’s grace, presence and sovereignty. God’s power is made perfect in weakness. This is a dependency shift from your self to God.

    3. A Capacity shift – from coping to conquering

      The word capacity means the measure of your ability to receive, hold or absorb. Your capacity as a leader is the measure of your ability to lead others. If you’re going to lead more people you’re going to need to increase your capacity.

      Leadership involves building capacity into your life. You can try and grow yourself as much as you’d like to, but nothing will grow your capacity quicker than bring thrown in the deep end of life.

      Growing pains demand an increase in capacity physically, emotionally and mentally. But the most important increase in capacity is spiritually. Read 1 Timothy 4:8. Increasing your capacity is a holistic process that requires you to respond positively to all of the shifts required of you.

      4. A Role shift – from working in the ministry to working on the ministry

        Growing pains require you to look at your role through a different lens to what you’ve looked at in the past. No longer can you settle for being a human doing in your role. You have to decide that you’re going to become a human being.

        You must stop doing everything and start delegating most things that others can do so that you can be who God has called you to be. Some of us are not in a position to delegate most things. Some of us have a role to be doing the most things. But that’s a part of you doing the being. Eg. gift of helps.  

        You can’t do everything. Take a step back from the day to day tasks and work on the ministry. Embrace a culture of delegation.

        Exodus 18:13-23.

        Senior Pastor’s Job Description :

        1)    Chief Intercessor on behalf of their congregation. Prayer must be a scheduled priority in the leaders life.

        2)    Teach God’s word to the congregation. Preparation and preaching must be a scheduled priority.

        3)    Be an example of Christ-likeness. Show them how to live. My words and actions must show you how to live.

        4)    Clarify the congregation’s role and responsibilities.

        5)    Appoint leaders to oversee ministries and pastoral care of congregation. People who have character, integrity, chemistry with you. 

        5. A theological shift – from law to grace

          Growing pains reveal what areas of your theology need to be refined. Your perspectives of life, ministry and people are sharpened.

          Growing pains reveal it’s more about what Christ has already done for you rather than it is about what He can do for you. Living by law makes you self-conscious, living by grace makes you Christ-conscious.

          Just do what God has called you to do, delegate everything else, and trust the sovereignty and grace of God to do what you can’t control.

          6. A heart shift – from barreness to fruitfulness

            Personal growth is less about what you do and more about what you allow God to do in you. Transformation of the heart requires deep change. Nothing will shift in you without deep change. Read John 15: 4 & 5.

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