My growth as a leader has been an enriching process. It has been an ongoing learning experience, which has deepened my dependence on Christ and strengthened my relationship with others. Here are three areas that highlight my development as a leader for God’s glory.
1. Life-long Learning
Leadership development is about perspective. It is having an awareness that I am uniquely designed by God and He is developing me over my lifetime for His purpose. The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:10, “For you are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus forgood works.” Effective leadership formation is growing in the perspective that God is actively developing me throughout my life and cooperating with Him in that development.
…I am uniquely designed by God and He is developing me over my lifetime for His purpose.
Dr. J Robert (Bobby) Clinton has been a personal friend and mentor for many years. He helped me to reflect on God’s sovereign work in each season of my life and identify His divine intentions for me. Leadership development is appreciating the past, learning through the present, and preparing for the future. I have grown as a leader as I recognize God’s shaping and pursued open doors in line with a growing sense of His calling. I have learned from each experience in preparation for future opportunities. God used every season of my life to deepen my dependence on Him, develop Christ-like character, and equip me for the next challenge.
Having been a former Electrical Engineer, I like formulas. Even though life is not a formula, Bobby Clinton gave me a simple equation that I have modified which has helped me understand leadership development:
Leadership development =(Word x Opportunity x Response) Lifetime
This means that leadership development is the process of being in the Word of God, taking advantage of strategic ministry opportunities, and learning from my responses over my lifetime. These are the elements that have guided my growth as a leader.
The Apostle Paul exhorted his mentoree Timothy in II Timothy 1:6, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” This verse has motivated me to fully utilize and develop the gifts, talents, time and resources God has given me as a leader. He wants to produce greater fruit through me for His glory, so I need to continually focus my ministry in line with His gifting and calling.
I am grateful that OC International values life-long development and I was given the opportunity to pursue my seminary studies while in ministry. It wasn’t easy to balance family, ministry and studies at times, but it enlarged my understanding of ministry and leadership. I have appreciated the opportunity to learn through reading, interacting with others from different contexts and reflecting through various writing projects.
2. Being Precedes Doing
What I do needs to flow from who I am. This has been another valuable leadership principal that I received from Bobby Clinton. All that I do as a leader must be founded upon and operate out of an intimate growing relationship with the Trinity. This is cultivated by listening to God’s voice through regular, quality time in the Word, meditation and prayer.
What I do needs to flow from who I am…
Over the years, I have grown in my relationship with God as my Heavenly Father. For a long time, I have known God as my Savior and Lord, but through recent life and leadership challenges, I have come to appreciate a closer Father-son relationship with Him. This has brought greater security in His love and strengthened my faith to trust Him more. As a leader, I can rest in His constant presence, abundant grace and personal love in every situation. It is ultimately His pleasure and glory that drives me.
I have developed a Rule of Life to help strengthen my abiding relationship with the Lord. A Rule of Life is an intentional pattern of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness. It has helped establish a rhythm, which is helpful for being formed by the Spirit, a rhythm that reflects my love for God and respect for how he has been forming me. I have tried to practice spiritual disciplines on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis. These include time in the Word, prayer, fasting, meditation, reflection, repentance, worship and journaling.
There are also intentional goals to strengthen my relationships with my wife, my children and others. Weekly Sabbaths and one-day spiritual retreats every quarter have been ways for me to practice the rhythm of solitude, reflection, prayer and renewal of my being in Christ. As I have practiced my Rule of Life, this has helped me evaluate and refocus my life and leadership to keep in step with God’s purposes.
3. Mentoring Relationships
Cultivating a circle of mentoring relationships has also developed my life and leadership. Hebrews 13:7-8 states, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” We are called to learn from other godly men and women as they follow Christ.
Bobby Clinton encouraged me to develop a constellation of mentoring relationships for my growth and the growth of others. These include upward mentors, who have proven character and experience. Another dimension is peer mentors, both in and outside my team where we can learn together in life and ministry. The last area is downward mentors, comprised of emerging leaders that are committed to growing together. I have been challenged and encouraged to grow in the Lord, family, ministry, and personally through each of these mentoring relationships. I have received insights and advice from others at all levels.
I have grown in every area of life over the years through the ongoing pursuit of mutual learning relationships. I have been stretched and strengthened through these open and honest mentoring interactions. The dynamics of each relationship has changed with each season of life and ministry. Some of my mentors have included my wife, children, youth leaders, pastors, professors, and OC colleagues. Several Biblical leaders have been models for me in leadership formation. These are Moses, Joseph, Paul and of course, Jesus Christ. I am deeply grateful to the Lord for the mature and experienced mentors that I have enjoyed over the years.