Choosing the Long Road to Somewhere Instead of the Short Road to Nowhere

Life is filled with tensions. I’m not just talking about the negative tensions of managing relational conflict or figuring out how to pay the bills this month. I’m talking about the positive tensions of where to apply your greatest effort. In the whirlwind of life-as-usual, in the press of demands and limitations, how do you identify what is most important? How do you know where to invest the most and best energy?

If life is full of tensions, then leadership is the ability to navigate those tensions in the most helpful and effective ways, both for ourselves and for those around us. This is never more true than when we turn to the leader’s most valuable asset: their organization’s vision, its forward-looking view of where God is leading.

Every organization in the world that strives to advance its vision beyond itself wrestles with tensions within itself:

  • The tension between delivery and development. How do we deliver what we do with excellence while we develop the next generation of leaders behind us?
  • The tension between progress and process. How do we “ship” today to the most people while we improve what we do so that more leaders can “ship” tomorrow?
  • The tension between moving people and making people. How do we efficiently funnel masses through a pattern of programs while we spend the kind of time with individuals that influences their lives?

Navigating tensions like these is how a leader makes his or her most important contribution to an organization. As the steward of the organization’s vision, the leader must choose what the organization gives its best time and attention to. It is the leader’s responsibility to decide how their organization negotiates between delivery and development, progress and process, moving people and making people.

If we are honest, too often when deadlines get urgent and budgets get tight, we reduce our vision to delivery, progress, and moving people. That is where the most and best time goes when the “tyranny of the urgent” demands it of us.

But the best determiner of whether our vision will truly create the world we hope for is not whether we deliver today or make what-have-you-done-for-me-lately progress that turns the heads of those we report to. Instead, vision becomes reality for those who invest in development and process. The future belongs to leaders whose vision is always about making people and not just moving them.

In other words, in times of greatest urgency, we leaders must make our most counterintuitive move. Instead of trying to maximize our delivery, we must try to maximize our development. Instead of concentrating on progress, we must look at our process. Instead of trying to move people, we must correct our deficiency in making people.

In short, success in attaining our vision lies not with the question we most naturally ask but with the question we almost never ask. We must shift our interest from asking “What’s next?” to asking “Who’snext?”

The unmistakable truth is that our vision is only as good as the people in whom that vision has taken root. And while development, process, and making people are never the path of quickest reward, they are the path of greatest long-term effectiveness.

If, on the other hand, we choose the short path of what most people most value, we will inevitably miss the better path of the better future that got us into our calling to begin with. So today I’m inviting you to choose the harder and longer path of vision. If we recover our focus on who’s next over what’s next, I think we will find ourselves back on the long road to somewhere instead of the short road to nowhere.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave Rhodes

Dave Rhodes

Dave is the Pastor of Discipleship and Movement Initiatives at Grace Fellowship Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the co-founder of Younique and Wayfarer, and a collaborative partner for 100 Movements, 10,000 Fathers. Before coming to Grace Fellowship, Dave served as the U.S. Team Leader for 3DM and as Lead Strategist for Wayfarer. Dave has authored several books and resources including Redefining Normal: An Open Invitation for Ordinary People Wanting to Become Extraordinary Disciples. Dave graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University and went on to graduate from Beeson Divinity School with Master of Divinity. Dave is married to Kim and the father of 3 fabulous children—Emma, Izzie and Frankie. Normal-and-then-not-normal-fun-facts: Dave enjoys playing golf, watching college football and eating chicken wings—and maybe eating chicken wings a little too much.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Bringing Boomers and Millennials Together

Breakthrough Ideas with Dave Rhodes:

  • The physical location of your church and the mission of your church should be inseparable.
  • Moving to the fringe of the organization, instead of the center, empowers younger generations to step up and lead.
  • Boomers and Millennials CAN get along; however, each generation must take a different approach to the other.
  • You cannot multiply the church at the rate of possible opportunity, only at the rate of people development.
  • Are you working to rest or resting to rest? Why this matters.

Dave currently works as the Pastor of Discipleship and Movement Initiatives at Grace Fellowship Church and co-founder of Younique in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a sought-after speaker, writer, consultant, and coach. He is the co-founder of Wayfarer, former US Team leader for 3DM, and a collaborative partner for several other movement organizations specializing in discipleship, leadership, and mission.

Breakthrough Resources:

The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

100 Movements

Auxano

Church Unique by Will Mancini


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.