The Difference That Direction Makes


I was speaking to a group of about 100 middle-school-age 4-H members from throughout Illinois a few years ago when, as I often do, I asked about their dreams. “Not the weird dreams you have at night, but dreams of what you want to do, the things you want to have, the person you want to become,” I explained. I will never forget the young lady who confidently rattled off a hand-full of her dreams, each one quite specific, including “to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.”

I remarked at the specificity of her dreams. Her peers at this plenary session responded immediately, informing me that their new friend’s performance was already scheduled in about six months at the time. Her peers clearly respected her, wanted to follow her lead, wanted a piece of what she had. “What she had” was personal Direction.

As an executive coach, the successful outcome of every one of my client relationships could be summed up as a new or renewed “clarified sense of direction”, and a requisite amount of commitment and courageous action. I cannot count the number of times my clients have said, “I wish I had this coaching at an earlier age.”

Think about it, people who lack a keen sense of direction usually end up following someone who does. Picture the score of people who were running across America with Forest Gump in the iconic movie, only to find themselves lost and unsure what to do next when Forest suddenly stopped running in the middle of the Western American desert. Forest Gump did not have a keen sense of direction; he was running from something, not toward a dream. He only appeared to know who he was, what he was doing, where he was going, and that was enough for people to follow him.

Young people like 13-year-old Vanessa Templeton of tiny Sangamon Valley Middle School in Illinois perform at Carnegie Hall each year. Others like her have very specific dreams at an early age. My sons had specific dreams; my oldest is now living out dreams he’s had since middle school: he played college hockey, lives near San Francisco, sits up in bed each morning to a bay marina view filled with boats and sailing yachts, and works as a Network Operations Center engineer for AirBnB. He was named a distinguished alumni by his university alma mater at age 24. Yes, having what some will say are “wild” dreams of a 13-year-old do pay off.

What I find remarkable about these young people is not so much that they have dreams. We all have dreams, although I find too few people are ready and able to articulate their dreams, let alone persevere with action. What sets these young people apart is the clear direction their dreams provide. They have honed their dreams into achievable goals, which provide a True North and keen sense of direction that is all too rare.

Having a direction in life always pays off. Personal direction may be the most distinguishing characteristic of personal satisfaction, happiness and success at any age.

Show me a teenager who knows who he or she is, knows what she or he wants, and knows where she or he is going, and I will show you a young person with better grades, better relations with parents and other family members, better social networks and friendships, and fewer risk behaviors, to name a few benefits. Very likely, the manner in which such young people lead their lives means they already have followers, too.

Want to provide a gift for the young people in your life? Give them plenty of opportunities to explore and try new things, to discover themselves and to test their courage against their dreams. Don’t push them to commit or to master any one interest or activity too quickly. Don’t push them toward “where the jobs are” – the average 13-year-old today will likely work in an occupation that has yet to be invented. Let your children lead their learning now, so that one day they will have mastered the ability to lead their own lives well.

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Is There a Secret to Success?

Success Formula

A friend recently found a 2007 newspaper clipping of a column I wrote called “Ask the Coach”. I thought it was worth sharing again here.

Have you truly defined success?  Is it your own definition, or what the “world” expects of you? Successful people set their own goals considering what others say, but deciding on what they want to do with their lives.

Another common difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that unsuccessful people prioritize their schedules, and successful people schedule their priorities.  Of course, the secret lies in truly knowing your priorities. Better yet, the secret is being clear about your priorities — where you are now, what you deeply desire to have, do and become.

What is of greatest importance to you right now?  Every moment you spend trying to remember or articulate what is important can cost you time, money and emotional energy. So successful people clarify what success looks like, feels like, and sounds like in their own terms. Their priorities are stabilized by balance among them and purified by strong beliefs that support them.  They make decisions and take action based on their own predetermined goals, which creates focus, direction, and ultimately a unique clarity of purpose, as well as establishes a record of integrity.  Clarity leads to commitment, and commitment leads to satisfaction, peace of mind, creativity and innovation, pleasure, influence in relationships, wealth to the degree you seek…, or however you want to define your own success.

You exist to serve. The secret to success begins with getting clear on whom, what and how you serve.

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Three Approaches to Leader Development

Organizations typically take one of three approaches to management succession and leadership development.

The Promotion Model: The most common process for ascending into formal management roles goes something like this: on Friday, you are commended for being a “super worker”, so on Monday you get to be a supervisor.  That’s it. Any questions?  Somehow, over the weekend or the months and years to come, you must figure out what it means and what it takes to lead effectively.  Maybe you find a mentor, take a class, or read a book or two; maybe not. In this way, we have many leaders who learned about leadership the same way they learned about sex: either from theory, from their peers, by experimenting, or from someone who professes to be slightly more “experienced”.  And how accurate is that?

The Competency Model: The second means of leadership development is becoming more common, especially in large corporations and open-enrollment programs.  In this case, a dozen or so “leadership competencies” have been identified as important; prospective or new leaders participate in a series of training modules, field trips, and projects based on those competencies.  At best, participants are assessed on the degree to which they embody each competency and they may be measured against a baseline.

The idea with this second model comes straight out of the industrial age – that if we take everyone through the same, homogenous “assembly line” we end up with a group of leaders who are similarly effective: you might call this the “car wash” approach to leadership development in that the hope is that participants come out “clean”.  In effect, this type of process produces a static management culture rather than effective leadership leveraging a multitude of unique talents necessary for innovation and sustained success amid market challenges.  In effect, leaders are measured on the equivalent of a grading curve right out of secondary school.

In method one, we place people into leadership roles and hope they produce desired results. In method two, we train people in a particular way, and hope they produce desired results. Can you allow hope to be the only outcome of your leadership development efforts?

Leadership MASTERS uses a third method: we help participants and their organizations determine their desired business results first, then we develop people who will lead others to produce those desired results.  The focus is on the results and how they are produced rather than just the individual leadership attributes, which may vary based on the inherent strengths of the leaders. The organization wins because it now has self-motivated leaders, intent on achieving business goals, while aspiring leaders win because they can measure their impact in the achievement of their own goals and in the performance of their followers.


Leadership MASTERS is a program developed and facilitated by Executive Coach Mark Sturgell, CBC, for the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce in Decatur, IL. It provides intensive character and results-based coaching, collaborative learning, and training to develop “bench strength” of future leaders within local businesses, non-profits, and government entities – influencers at all career stages capable of leading others to produce desired organizational results.  For more information click here, including registration, executive summary, white paper, schedule a complimentary coaching session, and other preview opportunities.

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Don’t be a “Know-it-all”: No matter what you know

What if someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer?

First of all, recognize that this will happen, especially of leaders or people in positions of real or perceived authority. No one appreciates the person who acts like he or she knows the answers, but does not.  Know-It-Alls are quickly dismissed by others. Don’t assume you’re NOT a Know-It-All; ask your friends, family and colleagues if you EVER come across this way. Recognize there is at least a kernel of truth in whatever feedback you receive.

Make sure you understand the question clearly before you answer. Repeat the question, paraphrase it, or ask for clarification.

Certainly feel free to answer the question based on your experience. If you are speaking as an authority, you should be able to back up your answer with facts and data. If you are not an expert in the subject of the question, say so quickly before giving a response based on your experience or opinion, and qualify your answer as such.  Respond with your own question about who the person knows that might be an authority in the area, or refer them to such an authority who you know.

Even if you are an expert or authority in the subject of the question, giving away your “expert” answer immediately may not be the most helpful response. “There must be a reason you are asking this question.”  Use this or a similar statement to get the person asking the question to say more. Or simply ask, “Could you say more about that?”  This achieves much: first, it will evoke context, more meaning and the underlying purpose of the question being asked.  Second, many people hold the answers to their own questions but ask others out of habit, self-doubt or the need for reassurance.  Directing the question back at them encourages independent thinking and brings out their own hidden potential for innovation and solutions.

Before you answer a question:

The more you get the person who is asking a question to think and say more about their question, the more helpful a leader and coach you will be.  And, the more likely you will provide a truly helpful response.

Directing the question back at them encourages independent thinking and brings out their own hidden potential for innovation and solutions.

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Your Agenda for Change

 “…a dream that lies somewhere ‘beyond your reach’ yet within the horizon of your beliefs.”


Reflecting on a coaching call from earlier this morning, I am again reminded of the critical role I serve as a coach.

I typically begin a coaching session with something like, “How do you want to use your time today?” It is amazing how difficult this question can be to answer for the un-coached individual, despite the typical “to do list” of the average person.  Of course, my coaching clients want something better than average.

This morning my call was with a long-term client, now a dear friend, who nearly always has had an agenda ready to address. This morning, his response was something like this:

“I really don’t have an agenda ready, but Mark, you know me well. What do you see with me or my business that I’m not addressing?  What are my blind spots?”

This is a brilliant question, by the way, if not asked too often; a brilliant agenda, even though he knew I wouldn’t simply tell him MY answer without exploring HIS answers first.  Thus began our coaching conversation this morning.

As I look back over the past 28 years of coaching hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people, I am amazed – when a client arrives with “no agenda” ready to discuss, this can be the seed of a powerful movement toward desired results from coaching.  It can also be a total cop-out.  Oh, the many stories I could tell…

Of course each person does have an agenda, but not everyone is able to articulate his or her agenda. They just need a little help in identifying and articulating their want or need in the moment. They may also need to learn, or be reminded, that I am not responsible for either their agenda or their goal achievement, success, happiness, or however one might label his or her desire.

This is what I do. I help people achieve dreams that are greater than their current reality. Not everyone is clear at the start, either about their dreams or about their current reality.

Yes, there are folks who are unable to articulate their agenda (but not incapable), whether it be for a coaching call, for that day, or for their life in general. That’s why my coaching model requires some intensive upfront work. Ultimately, coaching is impossible without an agreed-upon agenda, a goal, a dream that lies somewhere “beyond your reach” yet within the horizon of your beliefs. Most things involving two or more people are difficult, if not impossible, without an agreed-upon agenda.

This is what I do.
I help people achieve the dream
that is greater than their current reality.

Admittedly, I have run across folks who have been unable to open their thinking enough to be coached. Coaching is about change; some folks just aren’t ready to change.  You and I are the same: I have to be ready to seek opportunity, to enhance my current results, to tweak my attitudes, to address a significant challenge, or to achieve new results by doing something different.

Readiness is critical. Yet, some of us struggle to move from our “As Is” to our desired “To Be” because we have yet to identify and articulate either one. In these instances, we either allow our circumstances to dictate our reality, or we settle for merely “brainstorming” ways to get new results from an assessment of our circumstances that, perhaps, is too-readily accepted. We miss the world-changing power of a simple shift in perspective, what I call Choice #3.

Most people want to learn to articulate their agenda for change in order to work on it. Some will act on this desire; some will not. Some people recognize the value of a coach in doing so. In order to change our results we must change perspective, and a coach helps.  I cannot speak for my clients view of these instances, only for my own experience.

However, after a coaching call that begins with no apparent agenda, its not unusual for my clients to say something like “this was very helpful” or “this was a great call”, and even “this was one of the best coaching conversations I’ve experienced,” or “that was powerful.”  In fact, I’ve heard these very statements.

So I conclude with a few questions for you today:

  • How do you want to use your time today?
  • What do you really want?
  • What is your “As Is”, your current reality? How do you know?
  • If you could change anything, what would it be?  What is keeping you from making that change? (By the way, “nothing” is a less than truthful response. Think about it.)
  • What is your “To Be”, your desired future?
  • What is the one action you can take in the next 24 hours that will move you toward your desired future?

Remember, change is inevitable. Growth is optional.

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Introduction to Design for Glorious Living: Faith-Based Change for Christian Leaders

The final draft is ready for review and this is the Introduction to Design for Glorious Living: Faith-Based Change for Christian Leaders.  I will be sharing the complete manuscript with select reviewers soon (if you want to review, contact me privately), then piloting within the ministry reach of Lifting Arms Ministry.  Enjoy this excerpt and, please, share your comments.



Never doubting the ingenuity of God or God’s people, there are many ways readers might use this text and action plan. While creating this content and process, I conceived a few ways, and I am sure there are more:

  1. As a stand-alone study or devotional tool, much like any other you might use.
  2. As a tool for an in-depth articulation of your own affirmation of faith and purpose.
  3. As a “Fourth Day” supplement for those familiar with the Walk to Emmaus, Great Banquet, or Cursillo movements. Des Colores!
  4. For pastors and lay people new to ministry, perhaps right out of seminary or college, or in a new role.
  5. For experienced pastors and lay people — renew your passion for ministry.
  6. As a self-study, perhaps as a supplement to your Faith-Based Change 40-day coaching experience with a Lifting Arms Ministry Coach.
  7. As a platform for coaching during or following your Faith-Based Change 40-day coaching experience. [RECOMMENDED]

What ministry leaders really need is a real live person committed to coaching them along the Path to Enduring Ministry.  Tools and assemblies are certainly vital to continuing development, but you need direct sustained support, not a repairman or therapist, and more than a mentor teaching from his or her own perspective.

What you don’t need is just another “how to” or “self-help” resource that instructs you to “follow these (pick a number between 1-10) easy steps, and we guarantee you will (insert financial gain, ministry expansion measure, relationship status, goal or redemption obtained) in only a matter of (pick a number between 1-5) (insert a measure of time).

Our selves need help if we are to better our lives, if we expect better results, if we are to influence others and live on-Purpose, but we need more than a five-step elixir.

You know what you want to change. You may even know something is wrong, but no self-administered prescription works; so if you are here because you are trying to help yourself make significant changes, this material is not for you.

If self could help, then we would all have been fixed a long time ago. Genesis 3:7-10 illustrates how no one is ever quite the same after sinning with knowledge. We cannot return to the Garden from the wilderness on our own recognizance.  We think we know too much.

Isn’t it time you learned you cannot self-medicate your way to being a leader?

So let me be clear: Design for Glorious Living is not a self-help process. It’s the antithesis of self-help…This journey begins with a rejection of your self’s offer to help. Say this out loud, “I cannot make myself right with God.” (Romans 1:16-17; 2 Cor. 3:1-6) Instead of self-help, we are asking for the help of Christ in a spiritual experience that brings about supernatural transformation, which brings glory to God — even at this stage of your life. 

In fact, we cannot demand our “right” to our selves AND live into His Design for Glorious Living — the process that began in that moment you were willing for God to change your nature, and His re-creating forces began to work. As Oswald Chambers writes, “He has already saved us completely… and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done.” Living an atoned life of intercession is now your business: that this atonement may be exemplified in you and as fully understood in the lives of others as it has been in yours.

Design for Glorious Living — the process that began in that moment you were willing for God to change your nature, and His re-creating forces began to work.

Yet His work in you is not finished with atonement, it is just beginning. He works in you so you will go to work in ministry to others. Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. Change that leads to growth requires leadership. Personal change requires personal leadership. As for organizational change — there are only two ways to change an organization:

  1. Change leaders, or
  2. Change the leaders

That is, you can replace the leaders OR they can seek personal change and be open to God’s designs and continued work in their lives. Organizational change must begin with personal change of people in leadership positions, especially “top” positions, although that does excuse any of us. 

Quite frankly, many leaders are easier to replace than they are to change. Sometimes leaders are resistant to their own development. As a leader, you CAN be replaced OR you can seek personal change and be open to God’s designs and continued work in your life.

See note on the original inspiration for this book below.

Too often, leadership development is seen as a way to “fix the followers”.  Get over this now.  If you are a leader, then I guarantee YOUR continued development is the key to improved results. Just ask your followers.

But our leadership aim here is much broader than people in formal leadership positions: leaders come from many places, with many personalities; they serve many roles and with a great diversity of gifts.  There is no such thing as a born leader; leadership qualities and abilities are developed, and anyone can develop them. This includes you. 

Our aim is broad, but also precise in the Body of Christ, which is our concern; ministry leaders come from pulpits and from pews.  Christian leadership is not the privilege of a few but the responsibility of many.  Christian leaders are those who influence others to praise God with all glory, disciples who are vocationally called to make disciples in many professions, not just pastoral ministry.

We also want to help you go beyond simple change. Change fixes the past. Transformation creates the future. I will use the terms interchangeably going forward, but it is important to understand the distinctions. Do you want a better version of now, or something new? Both paths are difficult and produce rewards. Choose wisely. 

A butterfly is a transformation, not a better caterpillar.

Note: We will say more about the transformation of caterpillars in the On Earth as it is in Heaven chapter.

Author Chris McGuff writes, “Change requires becoming familiar with the current situation, and working to make things better, faster, bigger, or some other ‘er’ word.” The intent of change is to alter what already happened in the past. The success of change is measured by efficiency and economy realized at the end of an effort compared with the start — what happens next. Change creates a reconditioned or improved version of the past.  (For example, your ministry may grow, but is it growing disciples?)

Transformation is different; it is an assertion that our actions today create our future tomorrow. A transformed future can only be realized when you free yourself from past constraints — something we call Choice #3, which is described in the What is Coaching chapter.  In transformation, you recognize that God has a design in mind and He works with you to change you, to see what He sees, and to live into and co-create His design.

The apostle Paul describes transformative change best, and provides a singular inspiration for my role as a coach, as a Christ-follower, and as an author:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)

The purpose of this book is to facilitate (to make easier) this transformation — after thoroughly considering current reality. It becomes easier to leave the past behind when you choose a path of transformation.  You permit yourself to envision the future freely; you make specific promises, with full integrity, about how things shall be. You take action to ensure that you live into your declarations about the future. Leadership expert Simon Sinek puts it this way: “What you do simply serves as the proof of what you believe.”

Transformation does not describe the future by referencing the past any more than we can describe heaven by referencing earth; it is a quest for a whole new world.  However, transformation begins with a firm grasp of current reality. Without an intimate understanding of current reality, we’re delusional about the future from the outset.

Great leaders not only see things as they are, but as they could be. Leaders can manage change, but they see the potential for transformation. They know from experience that even a highly refined ability to see what is needed is limited by one’s assumptions and beliefs. They recognize that transformative change requires more than just new skills, new ideas, new actions, and produces more than just improved results; transformative change produces a whole new world. Such change requires new thinking, new perspective, new habits, new behavior, new goals, improved processes, focused effort, sustained action, support from others, sincere desire, vision, hope, new levels of faith…

Rather than evolution or evacuation, through the incarnation God took on flesh and entered into the wilderness of the world, and there he started to cultivate order, beauty, and abundance that could be experienced in the present. He reached across the gap of time and space to grab hold of the garden city of tomorrow, and he yanked pieces of it into the wilderness of today.
~ Skye Jethani, Futureville: Discover Your Purpose for Today by Reimagining Tomorrow

Transformative change requires less of you and more of God; He requires all of you.  In short, transformative change requires new possibilities for new actions that lead to new results, which cannot be achieved alone or without intentional design.  Through His Design for Glorious Living, God works in you and through you to yank pieces of His garden city of tomorrow into the wilderness of today.

Coaching with Lifting Arms Ministry helps you, your ministry team, and your organization close the gap between:

  • Innovation and stagnation
  • Isolation and integration
  • Growth and decline
  • Inspiration and desperation
  • Confirmation and exasperation
  • New possibilities and limited options
  • His desired future and your current reality…

Join me here in the search to be remarkable — that by God’s grace you might have a valuable influence in the lives of others. Reconnect your thoughts and actions with your deepest values and purpose, and engender the same in others. Have the courage to take action now on the most important things. Achieve what may seem just beyond your reach, yet is within God’s plan — His Design for Glorious Living. Join me at the Intersection of Purpose & Now.

Mark Sturgell
Lifting Arms Ministry coach
May 2015

NOTE: The original inspiration for this book and the author’s interest in coaching church leaders is the void of leadership development that exists in too many churches and ministries.  The typical pattern is to recycle leaders: someone calls individuals within the ministry and persuades them to commit to specific roles. Once in those roles people hang onto them until they are completely drained, move to another role, or they leave, and the process of filling the void begins anew.  The same pattern occurs in filling pulpit positions, as well. There is no intentional development plan and, as a result, not nearly as much discipleship training as some ministries claim.
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Remember the Sabbath…or Go Nuts!

I recently migrated my blog from Google Blogger to this WordPress platform. Due to some major problems that occurred with the original site and unique URL, I will be reposting some of the more recent articles here.

Please, if you enjoy them pass them along to others as I rebuild me following on a new social media platform. Follow me here, on twitter (, and on LinkedIn (

Thank you.
Mark Sturgell

Intersection of Purpose and Now

One of my long-time coaching clients has a great habit (well, actually a lot of great habits) that I truly appreciate. Twice a month before our coaching calls, he sends me both his most recent pre-session review form and the one from our previous call, which now includes his notes from that session. He often quotes me in his notes.

I rather enjoy being quoted. It gives me a fleeting sense of immortality, I suppose. More importantly, I love to see his insights as he recorded them “live” during our coaching calls, including the questions and lessons I share with him, and the next steps he takes as we explore his creative tensions of work and life.

In one recent coaching session, we were talking about a habit he doesn’t do as well as he would like: his need for balance, including Sabbath in his daily/weekly life, and I said this:

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On Earth as it is in Heaven: Your Leadership Challenge

“The truth is that challenge is the crucible for greatness. The study of leadership is the study of how men and women guide people through uncertainty, hardship, disruption, transformation, transition, recovery, new beginnings, and other significant challenges. It’s also the study of how men and women, in times of constancy and complacency, actively seek to disturb the status quo, awaken new possibilities, and pursue opportunities.”~ Kouzes and Posner, The Truth About Leadership, Jossey-Bass 2010, p. 93

Have you heard the story of the two caterpillars? Two caterpillars are inching their way along when they see a beautiful butterfly fly over them. One caterpillar turns to the other and declares, “You’ll never get me into one of those things.”

You may have a somewhat similar response to coaching, your leadership role, even your continual need for development. That’s why leadership growth takes curiosity, courage and commitment.

Think about it: a caterpillar cannot become a butterfly. The caterpillar can only become a brown, gooey, sticky mess. The mess becomes a butterfly. Call it growing pains, confusion, ambiguity, chaos or the like, but there will be a messy stage between the goodness in you now and the greatness of the Design for Glorious Living God has planned for you. (No wonder the word chrysalis comes from the Greek word khrusos, meaning gold!) Enduring Ministry is living through the mess to produce gold!

Call it growing pains, confusion, ambiguity, chaos or the like, but there will be a messy stage between the goodness in you now and the greatness of the Design for Glorious Living God has planned for you.

Courage grows from a growing desire to become the kind of person you want to become, to have the kind of life God wants with you, and to be the effective leader you were meant to be. Whether you follow the path to mediocrity or success is a matter of your own free choice.

It is time to make that choice. Are you curious about the kind of Christlike leader you are still capable of becoming? Are you excited about the new results others might produce in response to your inspiration? Are you courageous enough to continue on this journey? Are you committed enough to make it count? Are you willing to go through the gooey mess of transformation? The choice is yours.

Accepting the invitation to show up in life is about moving from the bleachers to the field. It’s moving from developing opinions to developing options. It’s about having things matter to us enough that we stop just thinking about those things and actually do something about them.  ~ Bob Goff, in Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
~ Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NLT)
When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.
~ William James

  • What is your cause or message? Where are you going? What are your goals?
  • Are you ready to become more authentic in your communication and relationships with others?
  • What are your core values?
  • What is your purpose — in your role and more grandly, in your life?
  • Are you on a mission? What is it? Is it written down? What is the desired timeline for achievement?
  • What is your vision for your life, your family, your ministry, your career?
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On Earth at it is in Heaven: Every life has a reason

People often profess “God, family, and service” or similar value priorities. God is not just the first priority among priorities; He purifies and gives purpose to everything.

Leaders are servants committed to improving the quality of life for themselves and for the world around them through authentic self-expression that adds value through their relationships, in the example of Christ and in service to God. They act in evidence of the Holy Spirit who shows up in their service to family, their businesses and customers, friends, neighborhoods, church, communities, civic and social groups, governments and even society as a whole… God is not a priority; He is in every priority. Christian leaders are like slaves to the cause of Christ.

Leadership is an active process of knowing what you want out of life, and what you are going to give with your life. Leadership is being (faith), and doing (obedience). Leaders develop a singleness of purpose; they bring purpose to their roles and give purpose through those roles. Leaders know who they are, where they are going, and how they will get there. How you lead your life not only determines your future, it also determines the future of those around you, because leadership is measured by the product of the behaviors of those around you.

Ask me about a structured Faith-based Change process for developing a renewed clarity of purpose, creating commitment to action, and a focusing on improved results. The truly successful leader understands the difference between who he or she is, and who he or she wants to be. As you continue your journey toward the person you want to be, continue to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where am I today?
  • Where do I want to be a year from today? In five years? In ten years?
  • What is important?
  • If I realize my goals, what will be my rewards?
  • What are the consequences if I fail?
  • What is standing in my way?
  • What are some possible solutions for those obstacles?
  • What specific action steps do I need to take to accomplish my goals?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

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On Earth as it is in Heaven: Called to Serve

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  ~ Matthew 28:16-20 (NLT)

When writing down your dreams and desires, consider this: you CAN want a relationship with Jesus Christ AND have the desire to replace the 12-year-old mini-van you’ve been driving. You CAN want to introduce others to Christ AND season tickets for your alma mater’s home football games. You CAN be evangelistic AND still be tactful, timely, and congruent in exhorting others about faith in the marketplace.

You CAN be a minister AND work in the marketplace. The Greek word in the New Testament that is often translated as “ministry” is diakonia meaning “service.” The term is not limited to the service of a select few who hold a title or role in the church. The exact opposite is true. Paul said that those who hold offices in the church are given gifts for the purpose of enabling all of God’s people to do ministry:

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
~ Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV)

Success and leadership correlate as well for the Christian leader as they do a secular CEO, but with a different purpose and purified (or not) by a different faith. Your faith should be evident in the manner in which you express His commands and commission. Make Christ your filter, but honestly consider your desires and needs, and go about them with grace. Let God be God.

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