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Affluent Christian Investor | October 22, 2017

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There is No Neutral

grey skies PUBLIC DOMAIN

When you find your purpose, you cannot help but be a leader. Your carry out your purpose in partnership with the Lord, and His wisdom and anointing flow through you. That partnership causes you to stand out from the crowd whether you are leading your garden club or your company. Leadership has its challenges, however, and one of them is that you must continue to grow in your ability to lead, otherwise you run into problems, and that is what we discuss this week. Where purpose and leadership are concerned, there is no neutral – you are either making progressing or falling back.

I have observed over my years of experience that if leaders don’t have some input into their lives, their leadership begins to suffer. What do I mean by input? There can be a number of things flowing into leaders’ lives that make them more effective leaders. Those can include seminars, coaches, college degrees, a vigorous reading program, or leadership conferences. What’s more, those inputs should involve people and concepts that are not regularly included in the leaders’ sphere of influence. In other words, leaders should hear from those outside their denomination, business focus, or personal area of expertise.

When leaders do not have these inputs, they stop growing, and the problem is that their organization does not stop growing, encountering new opportunities and challenges all the time. When a leader stops growing, they must compensate in some way, and they do so in a number of ways.

  1. They rely on their history, reminding those around them of what they have accomplished.
  2. They draw on their power base, using their authority to keep people off balance and in check.
  3. They rely more on their titles, exerting their position to get things done and to control followers.
  4. They talk instead of listen, because if they listen, they lose control of the situation and others may outshine or outsmart them.
  5. They become increasingly angry and agitated when followers don’t do what they say.

What’s more, I have found that those who rely on prayer for their input can fall woefully short of the leadership skill they need to have. I am sure that statement may shock and anger some, but before you hit the unsubscribe button, consider this. The Pharisees and leaders of Israel prayed, read, memorized, and sacrificed, and they missed the Lord. When Jesus tried to give them new input, their old wineskins rejected the new wine that Jesus had for them. Don’t think you are any better than they were.

The key element in purpose and leadership growth is a desire for continuous growth. That requires effort, and the day leaders stop exerting effort to become better, they then resort to other tactics to preserve their position while the purpose edge they once had dulls and disappears. Leaders must constantly challenge themselves to be all that they can be, and if they don’t do that, they will fall back. They cannot stay in neutral and make any progress.

What are you inputs? What keeps you from becoming stagnant and taking shortcuts where purpose and leadership are concerned? Are you growing? How do you know? I encourage you to take some time to assess your growth in the area of purpose and leadership to determine if your gear shift has slipped from drive to neutral or, worse yet, reverse. If you have stopped growing, then get back on the treadmill and begin to give your personal growth some work. You may be winded at first, but eventually you will regain your stamina, and your purpose and leadership will go forward once again to the relief of the world who needs not who you were, but who you can be. Have a blessed week!


Originally posted on The Monday Memo.

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.


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