July 09- Most
recent posts- the seven challenges to Leadership- and yes ihave encountered
I am not so sure
that the authors have done anything remarkably isolated to leadership.
These are challenges everyone commonly faces if one lives long enough
this side of the fall. Ive faced them in cycles, or perhaps in
a spiralling fashion. Once you think youre beyond their reach,
thats the time youll get subtly smitten by their poison.
1. Complacency- Whenever I have ventured into this type of wilderness,
God has seen fit to jolt me out of it, whether by my choice or His.
I have always sought new challenges proactively, and my so-called Midian
experience was a prolonged time when I was forced to remain in a situation
in order to build spiritual muscles I was lacking- I could not have
been complacent if I tried that time. I am rarely bored, as I know how
powerful this challenge can be encountered in all areas of life. Settling
in and doing business is one thing
settling for is another. Comfort
zones can leave you warm, fuzzy, and useless. Its important to
rock the boat for others as well.
2. Loss of compassion and conviction. I struggled with compassion as
a young man until the Lord used my wifes ministry to refugees
and the disabled to jolt me into a reckoning of reality. Then I struggled
with a lack of compassion for people whom I thought should do
better. Identification with others has been a hard won battle
through hard circumstances that God has used to humble and help me identify
with others on levels I could never have planned for as a young man.
Compassion is best identified in the deep, the places where youve
come to be crucified with Christ and lived to tell about it. This is
the true measure of a Christians heart. Conviction is the fruit
of compassion; without compassion conviction is dangerous.
3. Personal growth and mentorship. An agricultural model is a good way
to look at your own growth. Are others being nurtured by the fruit you
bear. I have been sought out as a mentor by several men, and I have
complied. I prefer to refer to this discipleship, or just as sitting
together at Jesus feet and learning to let him be THE mentor.
On one occasion, I had a leader condescend to grace me with his mentoring
expertise. His lack of humility and teachableness irked me, especially
since there were other men in that situation who had already taken me
humbly under their wings and were pointing me to Christlike character
and attitudes by their examples. Spiritual hierarchies can be hurtful,
in my opinion as is making someone your personal project. Iron sharpening
iron is a two-way consideration. Ive been in such a relationship
on three occasions. The Lord generated the relationship naturally, and
the partings have been naturally blessed as well. It is a costly but
Anthony Foster - Jul 1, 2007 7:50 pm (25.7)
Pt . 2
My biggest problem with comparison has been with my own feeling that
I was not meeting my own potentials and expectations, wondering whether
the Master would say to me well done, good and faithful servant(Mt
25:21). Ive been in a servant leadership role with men who I would
not consider servants, and I fear I have made comparisons on that level.
I grew up with the stigma of being the son of a sharecropper (who was
a remarkable man) in a fairly affluent environment so I learned early
on not to compare, but to be satisfied that I was going to be held to
accountability for what God had given me and that we all put our pants
on the same way- one leg at a time. It is also impossible to see the
motivations of others hearts, and that is a key factor in determining
true worth in Gods economy.
5. Teams. The team concept is all important in Kingdom terms. Yet teams
are made of frail children of dust. I have struggled mainly in the area
of pulling the plug on pseudo-team members who want to align with the
goal but are wanting in the productivity area. I am told I am the most
patient person people know on a regular basis, but I admit I fully know
that I am not in my soul (ask my wife!) I have a difficult time with
people who claim allegiance to a team yet have no passion for the work.
I also have problems with sponges who soak up the nurture year after
year and stagnate due to their unwillingness to be wrung out; they stink.
Teams are a challenge. When you can celebrate small victories together
it all seems worthwhile. I find volunteer teams easier to manage as
in a hiring situation, so much is left to impressions. I hate firing
a team member, but can when necessary for the good of the team.
6. Time, priorities, and relationships. This is the biggest struggle,
as I am constantly having to rearrange priorities. I am a good manager,
but no good deed goes unpunished. I had to realize I am not superman,
and the tyranny of the good can keep you from Gods best. In spite
of having committed as a young man to never make a decision that would
mean that I would grow apart from my spouse has borne much fruit- but
it never gets easy. I dont travel unless she can go with me. It
takes constant vigilance. I have not arrived, but have made lots of
decisions that make my life less complicated than others who struggle
7. Character. One always has to be intentional about bearing the peaceable
fruit of righteousness. We are born on a battlefield. One must be constantly
wary of rationalizing situations that can lead to character compromise.
I try to keep it simple but the world we are called to be salt and light
in is a messy place. It is especially necessary to learn to be a great
believer in fleeing situations. Thats not a cop out
or being cowardly- it is good spiritual sense. Trusting God for your
character, making it a constant point of prayerfulness, is necessary
lest the devil eat your lunch. Never feel you have arrived. Our character
is a reflection on the God we serve- His character will shape ours.