Does Eternity Make a Difference for Real-Time Leadership?

Consuming Fire

Here’s a true story of a business owner I know, whom we’ll call “Bryan.” He leads from an eternal kingdom perspective:

Bryan caught an employee sleeping on the job. A coworker told him he should let the man go because it isn’t the first time they caught him sleeping. But Bryan knew his decision wasn’t just a matter of his business, but it would have lasting impact within the eternal kingdom of God. This includes the man, his soul, as well as Bryan’s soul, and God’s hand on the business. He needed to make a decision with the wisdom of the Lord.

After prayer and listening for direction from the Spirit, instead of firing him, Bryan talked with the man. He found out his wife had just left him with their baby and he incurred mounting financial difficulties. Bryan felt the Lord’s leading to say, “We’re going to start over with you.” Then he laid out a plan for the man’s continued employment, with good results. The man changed his work habits. Four or five years later the man decided to take another job opportunity, but he thanked Bryan for helping him through the rough time, and for giving him a godly work environment.

Think about it. How did Bryan’s decision effect eternity, his own future? The man’s future? The future of the other employees? The company’s future?

Now imagine the scenario with a different outcome. What if Bryan did not have eternal perspective? What if he didn’t care about the man or his soul, only how he could benefit the company? What if he thought only about immediate loss of production? What if, instead of praying for God’s wisdom, Bryan fired the man. How would that impact the future of the lives involved? God’s hand on the company?

We’ll never know the answers, of course. But we do know that:

  • Christ created us with an eternal purpose to reign with Him into eternity (Gen 1:28; Rev. 5:10;  22:5).
  • Christ is building His eternal kingdom within us in every sphere our leadership carries us (Matt 13:33; 16:18-19; Luke 17:20-21; II Corinthians 5:20).
  • If Christ is building this eternal kingdom within us, then He places us in our spheres of leadership as ambassadors for His kingdom with eternal purpose (II Cor 5:20).

Understanding God’s plan for our place in His eternal kingdom gives us a different perspective for considering leadership decisions, words, and actions. It drives us to Him, to know Him, hear Him and obey His wise counsel.

Look for the sequel coming on Wednesday: 3 Differences Eternity Makes for Real-Time Leadership

- John 10:3, 27

- Patricia Tillman

7 Leadership Principles for Developing Powerful Unity

Unity in Christ

In the last blog we noted that godly oneness can only occur when leaders empower each individual to follow the Spirit of Christ. When each person conforms to the direction of Christ, then we automatically join His orchestration that harmonizes us together in unity.

Unity happens when everyone follows One conductor, and that is Christ

It’s not a fairy tale or magic. It’s the reality of Christ’s hand in our lives. We just need to yield our leadership to His headship.

How do we translate this kind of unity into the everyday life of a team? We’ve seen this over and over again at Teaching the Word Ministries. When leaders adopt these principles of Christ-centered oneness, the fruits of peace, love, productivity and fulfillment emerge.

There are no easy “5-step programs” for Christ-like oneness, but there is a life-time journey of growing into oneness with the Lord and His community. We can’t drum up a unified purpose from our own human wisdom or ideas. We can’t depend on programs that encourage people to think or act the same, or that present only an appearance of unity. But there are a number of Biblical principles we can incorporate that will move a group toward oneness in Christ.

Prayerfully meditate on the following and ask the Lord’s guidance to developing these in life and leadership. These principles are all part of our Presence-Based Leadership model.

  1. Foremost, deepen your relationship with Christ, and sensitivity to recognizing His voice. Make worship, prayer, Bible study and transparent, accountable fellowship with other believers a part of your lifestyle.(See our blogs: Five Ways Leaders Can Know They’re Hearing From God, Parts 1-5and Leaders, Individualism and Community.)
  2. Recognize that God speaks to all believers, and all believers have the responsibility to act on what they hear. Therefore, as leaders, we need to respect each person as an ambassador for the Lord. As people speak, learn to listen with an ear sensitive to what God may be saying through them. Empower people to grow in their ability to hear God and move on what He says. (See our blog: Hearing God as a Team, Parts 1-3.)
  3. If Christ is the Head of His body, then, as leaders, we are not the head. As such, we Christ the Conductorrecognize our role of leader as a facilitator of discerning God’s will. We lead in seeking God’s wisdom for each situation, hearing the wisdom God’s speaking through others, and putting the parts together to discern God’s truth. (See: Hearing God as a Team Part II.)
  4. Speak the truth with love (Ephesians 4:15). (See: Rendering Honor.)
  5. Don’t try to control or manipulate people or circumstances. Pray. Seek God’s will and trust Him in it. If it’s God’s will for one member of the team, then it’s God’s will in how that member’s obedience will affect the team. It’s always amazing what God can do when we let go and trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).
  6. Embrace diversity! Appreciate the unique contribution each person can give to the team. Affirm and empower their individual gifts and strengths. Each person reflects a part of God’s character. When all those parts are allowed to shine and fit together, we can see a fuller picture of God (I Corinthians 12:4-7).
  7. Develop a culture of honor. Respect each person as a gift from God, made in His image and purpose. (See our blog: Creating a Culture of Honor and Rendering Honor.)

Have you learned other principles that lead us into oneness in Christ? We welcome your comments below!

Proverbs 3:5-6; Matthew 28:18; John 5:44; John 10:3-5; 14-15; I Corinthians 12:4-12; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 4:6-7

- Patricia Tillman

One Way Leaders Can Develop Unity

Unity and Harmony

We know that a team  who walks in unity is powerful. Even God said of the ancients, “Indeed, the people are one and all have one language … now nothing they propose to do will be withheld from them” (Gen 11:6). God had to divide them through confusing their language in order to break their power.

If non-believers had such power in unity, then imagine the power Christians would have if we walked in oneness!

So we ask, what does Christian unity look like so we may walk in it? Preachers preach that we need to walk in it. But scanning news of the world-wide church, it’s obvious that, largely, we do not.

But what is “it”? Does it mean everyone conforms to the same standards? Does unity mean thinking, acting and dressing alike?

In other religions, that’s exactly what unity means. In his book The Good God, Michael Reeves describes unity in Islam:

Under his [Allah's] influence, the once-diverse cultures of Nigeria, Persia and Indonesia are made, deliberately and increasingly, the same. Islam presents a complete way of life for individuals, nations and cultures, binding them into one way of praying, one way of marrying, buying, fighting, relating – even, some would say, one way of eating and dressing.*

Is Christian unity any different? Does unity mean that everyone should conform to a certain standard, purpose or way of life?

We know unity is important, because one of Jesus’ last prayers concerned it:

I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me … – John 17:23

So then, what does it mean to be “one” as Jesus meant it?

First, let’s look at some understandings concerning unity either directly or indirectly taught in our churches:

  • Everyone should focus on the same ideas, for example, requiring every small group meeting to discuss Sunday’s sermon.
  • We should have diverse congregations, representing different races, nationalities and cultures, in order to display unity.
  • Everyone should faithfully follow and support the anointed leader God has set over the congregation or group.
  • Everyone should be like-minded with the same purpose and vision.
  • We should avoid strife and do everything with camaraderie, even if we have to compromise.

Are these practices scriptural? Do they really lead to unity? We can find some truth in the above understandings, but they all require us to conform to a standard “outside” of ourselves, an outward code or display. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but is it the kind of unity Christ spoke of? Something’s missing. There’s another point that gives all the other points meaning and relevance, a point that releases us to conform to the “inward” call of Christ in our lives.

The unifying point of godly unity is this:

Unity happens when each person hears and follows One Leader, and that is Christ, so together everyone is moving in the same direction.

Paul described it this way:

For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another (Romans 12:4-5).

Christ the ConductorWe empower each “part” to fulfill his or her unique purpose, and Christ orchestrates the parts to function smoothly together. Only He knows the master score, so for perfect harmony, each part needs to conform to Christ’s direction. In fact, the only way to true oneness is found in partnership and relationship with Christ, we in Him through the Spirit as He is in the Father.

And if each of us hears and acts on His direction, together we’ll automatically march in His loving, unified harmony.

But as leaders, how do we practically develop this harmony? Stay tuned for our next blog: Leadership Principles for Developing Powerful Unity.

*Reeves, Michael (2012-03-04). The good God (Kindle Locations 1373-1376). Paternoster. Kindle Edition.

Genesis 11:1-9; Philippians 2;