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I recently read a good book titled Love Works by Joel Manby. It made me consider that love and leadership are not often spoken of together. Perhaps love is considered too soft. Maybe it doesn’t seem practical. It could be that it’s assumed, but to assume love is dangerous. The truth is that love is at the very core of what we believe and what we do.
We all know what it’s like to love something. I’m a guitar collector and I love guitars. Kevin Myers, senior pastor at 12Stone® Church, loves motorcycles. How about you, what simple earthly thing do you love? One sure way to know what you love is that you talk about it! You get me started on guitars or Kevin started on motorcycles and we’re off and running!
To love someone is something entirely different. Think back about the first time you fell in love. When you give your heart to another human being with that sense of vulnerable abandon it is quite a risk. The good news is that there is often a wonderful reward – you are loved in return. If you have kids you know another dimension of this powerful force we call love. There is nothing your kids can do to stop you from loving them.
The trump card to all of this is to be loved by God. Human love, as amazing as it is, is flawed and we often stumble in our attempts to love others. God’s love is powerful, pure and perfect. It never fails. The love of God is incomprehensible. We can’t fully understand the depths of His love. There is no end to it. It is infinite in nature. It’s a love that surpasses all knowledge. (Ephesians 3:19)
The Apostle Paul prays that [we] have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide, and long, and high, and deep is the love of Christ. (Ephesians 3:18) The love of God is incomparable. “The incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7)
A perfect love can’t be measured, or fully understood, but it can be experienced. And that is the love we are called to live out through our leadership. Leading with this kind of love seems impossible, in fact, without Christ it is impossible. But we do have His love! “But because of his great love for us . . . “(Ephesians 2:4) And remember Ephesians 3:17 “. . being rooted and established in love,”
This is our high calling and purpose! I’ve attempted to write our big picture purpose as Christian leaders through a concise biblical statement. See what you think.
Our salvation (Eph 2:5,8), and the work that we have been divinely prepared for (Eph 2:10), was established in love (Eph 2:4; 3:17),according to His eternal purpose (Eph 3:11). And now, through the church (Eph 3:10), and with his power (Eph 3:20), we are called to know this love, (Eph. 3:19) and lead with this love, to fulfill His purpose.
So how do we take this amazing love of God and His purpose into our leadership? We start by acknowledging the difference between the world’s leadership and Godly leadership.
The world’s leadership is built on the platform of power. Whoever getsmore wins. Godly leadership is built on the platform of love. Whoevergives more wins.
Leaders deal in the realm of power. It’s inescapable. It’s what you do with it that matters. Jesus took it to the next level when He declared that love is the greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:37-19) Then Jesus put (supernatural) power in love by dying on a cross.
Love and Purpose in your Leadership:
For the power of God’s love to be activated through your leadership, you must be on His purpose.
Nearly every church I know has a purpose statement. Some may call it a mission statement or a vision statement, but regardless of how it’s labeled, church leaders rarely struggle with coming up with the words. They struggle with living them out. They struggle with staying on purpose.
The pressures and demands of ministry can and do distract us from our purpose and can diminish the power of God in and through our leadership.
In part 2, we’ll take a look at four things that take us off purpose, with some practical thoughts to help us all stay on track.
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