A few days ago I posted parts one and two to this three part series that I taught to our church staff at Hopevale Church called “Prepare To Launch.” This was a staff devotion to help prepare us to walk into the fall ministry season ready to lead well. It actually came from a quiet time of reflection and journaling, where God was working on ME as a leader… but, as is often the case with most things God wants to work on me with… it was too good to just keep it to myself. I had to share it.
Part One was all about Adopting the Right Attitude to lead.
Part Two was all about Planning with Purpose.
In Part Three I want to talk about…
3. Leading from the Inside Out.
Everything that we do as leaders in ministry should flow out of who we are in Christ. Our quiet times should affect our public times. God should be at work in us WAY before we ever expect that He should be at work in our ministries. There were actually three major passages of scripture that came to mind when I thought about leading from the INSIDE out.
- Proverbs 4:23 –“above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
The writer of this proverb (most likely Solomon) highlights something for us that, I think, we know to a certain degree… yet I wonder how often I take it seriously? YOUR HEART AFFECTS EVERYTHING. What you allow your heart to experience… what you allow your heart to attach itself to… what you keep FROM your heart, ultimately will affect who you are and what you do. Your heart (the seat of your emotions in the Old Testament) is the WELLSPRING of your life. It will overflow into what you do. So it is imperative that you guard it, protect it, nurture it, allow God to fill it, and then lead from it.
- Acts 2:42-47 – the account of the first church.
Go and read these verses in Acts. Don’t worry… I’ll wait🙂 ……………………………………..
Okay… so that is pretty amazing, right? (did you really read it? If so… you should be amazed) The first church was marked by several things that I think we, as church leaders, need to be marked by: Amazement and wonder at what God is doing, worship, fellowship, discipleship, sacrificial giving, taking care of each other’s needs, enjoying the favor of our communities, etc… And I loved how this account concludes about this first church… that “daily people were being added to their church and following Jesus.” And as amazing as all of that is… it all starts with one thing… WORSHIP! Their Worship of the Messiah caused them to do the Work of the Ministry. YOUR WORSHIP SHOULD AFFECT YOUR WORK. But I think a lot of us begin with WORK and then get to WORSHIP later. This lends itself to doing something that Jesus warned us about…
- Matthew 23:23-28 – Jesus warns the Pharisees about hypocrisy.
YUCK! I hate that word. HYPOCRISY. I hate it because I know what it is like to BE it. And I bet you do too. This instance, however, was a very special kind of hypocrisy… it was the hypocrisy of LEADING FROM NOTHING. When we neglect WORSHIP in our life… or when we worship the wrong things… we WORK FROM EMPTY. There is nothing on the inside that overflows to the outside… so the external is a made up version of what we pretend is on the inside. Jesus called that a cup with a clean exterior but filthy interior… USELESS. He also called it a beautifully painted TOMB. Sure, the outside looks great.. but the inside is still DEAD. JESUS WARNS US ABOUT LEADING FROM EMPTY. In fact, that was his MAJOR beef with the pharisees… and he had run ins with them A LOT. But when we start with our own lives… when we WORSHIP… then work, we begin to lead from the inside out. And that is when people find our ministries irresistible… not because we are anything… but because Jesus is EVERYTHING… and he is overflowing from the inside of us out to everyone we come in contact with.
SO LEAD FROM THE INSIDE OUT THIS MINISTRY YEAR!