Not failure, but low aim, is crime. ~ James Russell Lowell
Leadership starts with authentic self-expression that adds value through relationships; it is value-based, purpose-driven, and mission-focused; it is revealed in the nature of one’s desires, sacrifice and service to others; and it is measured by the results produced by followers’ behaviors.
No doubt, there is a widely accepted correlation between success and leadership in modern literature. However, much depends on how each is defined and measured. Scripture turns common worldly definitions of success and leadership on their heads. (Mark 10:43-45)
When one’s goals are a reflection of authentic, sacrificial self-expression that adds value through God-honoring, sacrificial, loving relationships that lead others to listen to and obey Him, the following definition of Success works for the Christ-follower as well as anyone:
Success is the continual achievement of your own predetermined goals, stabilized by purpose and balance, purified by belief, and expressed in service. No matter how you think of success or measure it, it likely fits this definition — if you seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness.
This definition of success may still bring you back to the concern, “I just want what God wants.” The more you obey and follow God, the more likely your desires are His desires, or at least they are purified through your faith and by His grace. God reveals His desires through our own desires, purified by our faith and submission. This is why we also say that success is finding out what God wants you to do, and doing it. Success is listening to God and responding.
With these definitions of success in mind, journal your responses to these questions. Use a Vision or Dream Journal and continue to refine your Purpose statement and add to your dream inventory:
- What do you really want? To do? To have? To become?
- 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?
For the Christian, if success is a relationship with Jesus Christ and obedience to God, then leadership includes guiding people into the same relationship. The measure of both is in the “Greatest Commandment” and the “Great Commission”.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”~ Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT)
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)