The sails are prepared for action. The marine batteries are fully charged. The drinking water tank is full. The weather has been checked to ensure there are no pending storms. The gas tank is topped off. The boat’s food pantry is fully stocked. It is time to experience the wide open waters. However, there is one remaining crucial variable needed to sail … the wind! Nothing happens without it.
Most sailors have experienced being in the middle of the open waters simply waiting for the power of wind. It can be a humbling experience, as the sailor must depend on a factor over which he or she has absolutely no control!
Christian leaders can experience a similarly humbling experience leading a ministry organization. The preparatory steps have been made. The strategic plans are in place. The board and staff are ready to go. A results-oriented dashboard has been developed. A gifted staff is in place to fulfill the functional needs of the organization. Short-term and long-term financial assets are being invested appropriately. The promotional and marketing plans are ready. The volunteer base is in place and motivated to assist where needed. The initiatives for the development of funds are ready. The technology is in place to assist with the organization’s efforts. The communication plan is ready to roll. However, something is missing. The organization seems to be sitting in the middle of open waters without the power to go.
The organization described here awaits the one variable that sets it apart from a secular nonprofit organization. It must have the power of God filling the sails. With that power, the organization has the potential of being Spirit-inspired, Spirit-directed and Spirit-fed. Without that power, all else is meaningless.
Leaders of Spirit-inspired organizations have a deep passion for the causes that they help further. They are inspired because of a call of God upon their lives. They fulfill that call without hesitation or regret. That passion drives them to excel with energetic enthusiasm. They seek to serve God in a unique way within their specific ministry setting. Their motivation is stirred by God’s Spirit deep within their soul, and that motivation is contagious to the rest of the organization they lead.
Spirit-directed organizations have leaders who wait for God’s guidance and timing as they embrace the unknown of the future. They humbly listen for his voice and they respond to his leading. They are at his mercy for power and direction. We see this characteristic of being Spirit-directed demonstrated by leaders in Scripture such as King David, who simply sought God’s direction and waited for God to respond. Similarly, Spirit-directed organizations wait patiently for God and his guidance. Hearing from God about the direction he wants for the organization may be the very thing that determines whether an organization will continue to exist long-term.
Spirit-fed organizations are comprised of leaders who continually seek to be discipled and grow in their relationship with God. They seek the nutrients of God in their lives through regular worship, Bible study and prayer. They allow godliness and righteousness to fill and feed their lives. Through that ongoing discipleship, they grow in their relationship with God. Those leaders, in turn, mentor the rest of the organization in discipleship and demonstrate what it means to be continually fed by God.
The need to be Spirit-fed may seem obvious; however, it is crucial to be reminded because of the temptation for leaders to become self-fed by their own pride. That can quickly lead to failure. Being Spirit-fed on a continual basis helps ensure that spiritual nutrients are embedded within the lives of leaders. In organizations that are Spirit-inspired, Spirit-directed and Spirit-fed, God is glorified.
Christian leaders need to do all that they can to increase the probability of success within the organizations they lead. They must humbly depend upon the power of God to fill the sails of the organization. God has likely given those leaders wisdom, skills, experience, knowledge and initiative that needs to be used within the organization. However, God also wants those leaders and organizations to be humbly dependent upon his power to accomplish his ordained purposes. Through that dependence, God takes the lead in empowering the organization to be all that he intends it to be for the maximum kingdom impact.
Dr. Jeffrey W. Steed is director of development and public relations for the Union Gospel Mission in Dallas?. Steed has authored several books and articles. This post is an excerpt from the 2015 Spring edition of Outcomes Magazine.
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