I asked my daughter Anna, a gifted communicator and leader (and yes, I'm biased) to write something on leadership. So here is Anna:
"Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, rule over us … Gideon said to them, I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you. The Lord will rule over you."
Judges 8:22,23 (ESV)
No matter where you lead there is only one true leader.
I am currently sitting at my home desk, having relinquished my full time position, beautiful corner office, mini fridge packed with Starbucks and sparkling Perrier, an assistant, and bathroom breaks unaccompanied by an onlooker (my preschool age son), in my position as the Kids Pastor of a powerful and amazing church in Southern California.
I am home because as I sought the Lord, as I do in every season, and asked "is this still where you want me?" I sensed immediately that I was to relinquish my position and head home and he was going to speak to me about my new direction.
Well, I am home with my four amazing children, washing tons of dishes and being the first on the scene for every fall off a bike or conflict between siblings. And the glorious joy of it all is I sensed the leading of my heavenly Father to do this; so his provision, his peace, his joy are at the helm of my life! I am fully aware that there is one true leader of my life and his voice is the one I want to obey and follow.
My Dad asked me to share on my greatest leadership secret and here it is: He is the vine and I am the branch.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5 (ESV)
Sometimes I will say out loud "you are the vine and I am the branch, you are the vine and I am the branch!"
I go early most mornings to the desk (in our mudroom!) where I read my Bible and pray and worship. It's early and most everyone is still asleep; the sun rises and this time alone, in the quiet, in the Word and in his presence has opened my heart and my life and my leadership more than anything I have ever done.
Just coming. Inclining my ear to his voice. I say often in those moments of quiet: search me and know me, as Psalm 139:23 says.
From Job 11:13-18, Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins, even those done in secret. Then you will lift up your face unashamed, you'll be confident and fearless. Your troubles will go away like water beneath a bridge, your face will shine brighter than the sun at noon, you will rest safe and secure, filled with hope and emptied of worry.
I love the promise after promise in these verses.
That I will be confident and fearless which is the two attributes that have radically helped me lead in situations where I have been in over my head, because I realize that by abiding in the vine and living daily in the posture of surrender and purging of sin, I can run my race and be full of courage for all that is required!
Whether I am overseeing teams of Kids Church volunteers, ministry leaders, or my own four kids, I am looking to the one true leader to sustain me so I can obtain all he has prepared for me.
I guess it's not really a secret that staying close to the Lord through the disciplines of reading his word and through surrender would lead to this life. It's just that for so long, I did not do it, I ran on my own strength and the pride of presuming I knew what was best. I did not feel the power and my life was not yielding the good fruit for which I had hoped. I can now say that I will only lead by abiding in the vine.
Let your heart be stirred toward the goodness of God and let's desire to dwell in his presence above all else.
Can I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, I pray for leaders who read this that you would strengthen them for what you have initiated and invited them into. If they have strayed from life-giving time in your presence and caring for their souls, I pray for a return to you and to your Word.
I pray that if busyness has led to bareness that you by your grace would draw them back. Clear their schedules so they can rest in you. I pray a nearness to your heart and clarity of your voice and I also pray that time in your Word and presence would bring confidence, fearlessness, joy, safety, security, hope and worry-free living! In Jesus name, AMEN!