Five Clear Ways to Lead from a Place of Love

The love of God is both incomprehensible and incomparable.

It’s difficult to fully understand the depth of God’s love. There’s no end to it. It’s a love that surpasses knowledge. (Ephesians 3:19)

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)

A perfect love can’t be measured, or fully understood, but it can be experienced. It can be expressed, and that’s what God asks of us, to lead with this kind of love.

A love that is incomparable – “the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.“ (Ephesians 2:7)

It’s because of His great love for us (Ephesians 2:4) that we do what we do.

I don’t know about you, but that can be an overwhelming thought at times.

I have to rest in His grace to know that He can use me to lead based on a motive of love. My love is so imperfect, yet God’s love says this is exactly what he wants me to do.

There are two things that help me grasp something as grand as this.

  1. God reminds me that it’s not about me and my love. It’s about God and His love. And if I genuinely seek to express God’s love, He helps fill in where I fall short. That doesn’t remove my humanity, it elevates God’s love and power.
  2. If I remain diligently focused on His purpose, that helps keep my motives pure.

It’s easy for any leader to get caught up in the everyday responsibilities from first time visitors to staffing issues and end up missing the big picture.

The following paragraph is a devotional I wrote in an attempt to capture a succinct biblical summary of God’s purpose for the church and the nature of our calling.

It helps me keep focused on the big picture.

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.

The church does not exist for itself, but for God’s glory. The purpose (Eph 3:11) is the revelation of God by reconciliation through Christ. My leadership can’t exist for itself, it has to be for God.

So how do we carry the love of God and His purpose into our leadership?

How do we make this practical?

We can start by acknowledging the temptation (not intention) to lead from a platform of power rather than a platform of love.

Love keeps us on purpose and helps throttle power.

It’s easy to veer off purpose and occasionally misuse authority. I’m not suggesting something of malice or intentionality, but things like overwork, pride, pressure, insecurity, jealousy, fear etc., are common every day realities that can temporarily pull us off the purpose that God’s Word has made clear.

A misuse of power or authority is not a reflection of God’s love. It might be faster, but it doesn’t work in the long run.

God’s biblical picture of love helps us stay on track.

The following 5 expressions of God’s love are core to you and I leading the way Jesus models for us.

They help us as we cast vision, create strategy, and drive forward to make progress – but doing it the way He has designed while remaining focused on His purpose.

5 practical expressions of love in leadership:

1) Grace

The body of Christ depends on relationships working in a redemptive manner. When there is conflict, giving the benefit of the doubt and extending forgiveness if needed is foundational to loving leadership. It’s not always easy, but it’s the model Christ set for us.

Disagreements within the church have existed since the early church.

From a theological division to someone is mad about the kind of coffee the church serves, conflict is not new. But it’s still up to us as leaders to do everything we can to resolve conflict in order to maintain strong and healthy relationships without sacrificing the purpose.

That’s the key. It’s not about passivity or a people pleasing posture, that loses ground for the Kingdom, it’s about grace while staying on God’s purpose.

2) Truth

We all know the scripture about speaking the truth in love. I love that passage because it’s so practical.

It’s easy to use the grace we just talked about in order to avoid the tough conversations that are necessary in leadership.

Grace isn’t an invitation to lower standards, it’s an obligation to speak truth.

God’s love is anything but soft and weak. It’s strong, courageous and requires the strength to say what needs to be said.

How we say it makes all the difference. Truth doesn’t require force or anger to back it up, truth can stand on its own. Truth backed up by love is a leader’s greatest ally.

3) Generosity

Generosity is often thought of first in connection to finances. When someone is generous, they give freely of their financial resources. But there is so much more to generosity. In fact, it’s far more a spirit within you, a disposition and a way of life than merely how much money you give.

Generosity is connected to giving your time, expressing kind words of encouragement, and opening doors of opportunity. A generous leader is quick to offer help, wisdom and good ideas, and loves others sincerely.

4) Compassion

As a young leader, compassion was difficult for me. I didn’t want to slow down. There was so much to do. But as I’ve matured, (and still have much to learn), it’s become abundantly clear how close compassion is to God’s heart.

I’ve learned that compassion can’t be expressed on the run. You have to stop to express care. It doesn’t mean if you don’t stop that you don’t care, but it does mean that no one will know you care and experience the love you have for them, if you don’t slow down at the appropriate moments.

That’s a real tension for a busy leader. You can’t stop for every need, but you and I must remain attentive to God so that we can tend to the moments of compassion He needs us to attend to.

5) Sacrifice

Sacrifice is at the core of God’s love. He gave His son for our eternal life. But how can we possibly model that example? The purity and commitment of that love is staggering, which can take us back to that overwhelmed feeling I mentioned in the beginning of this post.

The idea of sacrifice can get weird quick if we are not careful. It’s not about a works-based leadership. It’s not about performance or getting attention because we work so hard.

Sacrifice simply acknowledges that love always gives more than it takes. That’s enough. Personally, that’s a lifetime challenge for me to attain as a leader. But God helps me find the joy in it, the joy in serving others and seeing people live better lives – more closely connected God.

So, how about you?

Which ones are you doing well? When you think about grace, truth, generosity, compassion and sacrifice, where are you strong? What needs improvement?

> Read more from Dan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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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.

Inspiring Communication Series: Convey One Truth

To help others see change, the leader must understand how to unlock the imagination.

The very act of imagination is connected to faith. The author of Hebrews writes, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). When a leader articulates, or provokes, a follower’s imagination, he or she is serving both God and the individual by exercising the muscle of faith.

Unlock the imagination of your audience by conveying one simple truth.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Communicating for Change, by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones
Great stories capture and hold an audience’s attention from start to finish. Why should it be any different when you stand up to speak?

In Communicating for a Change, Andy Stanley and Lane Jones offer a unique strategy for communicators seeking to deliver captivating and practical messages. In this highly creative presentation, the authors unpack seven concepts that will empower you to engage and impact your audience in a way that leaves them wanting more.

Whether you speak from the pulpit, podium, or the front of a classroom, you don’t need much more than blank stares and faraway looks to tell you you’re not connecting. Take heart before your audience takes leave! You can convey your message in the powerful, life-changing way it deserves to be told. An insightful, entertaining parable that’s an excellent guide for any speaker, Communicating for a Change takes a simple approach to delivering effectively.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

It’s a good idea to keep your vision stories simple. The primary reason for this is that the human capacity to absorb multiple elements isn’t unlimited. When you are communicating a story, keep in mind the limitation of your listeners’ working memory. For the story to be useful, it must be neither too detailed nor too general. The simpler your story is, the more likely that people will comprehend and remember it.

Every time I stand to communicate I want to take one simple truth and lodge it in the heart of the listener. I want them to know that one thing and know what to do with it.

Determine Your Goal – What are you after when you speak or teach? What is the win? Smarter people? Changed people? People with more confidence in God? Your approach to communicating needs to match your goal.

Pick a Point – Point refers to one of three things: an application, an insight, or a principle. With this approach, the point serves as the glue to hold the other parts together.

Create a Map – Follow a five-word outline, each representing a section of the message.

  • ME (Orientation) – a dilemma the communicator has faced or is currently facing.
  • WE (Identification) – common ground with your audience.
  • GOD (Illumination) – transition to the text to discover what God says.
  • YOU (Application) – challenge your audience to act on what they have just heard.
  • WE (Inspiration) – close with several statements about what could happen if everybody embraced that particular truth.

Internalize the Message – you should be able to sit down at a table and communicate your message to an audience of two in a way that is both conversational and authentic.

Engage Your Audience – presentation trumps information when it comes to engaging the audience.

Find Your Voice – to develop an effective style you need to constantly ask yourself two questions:

  • What works?
  • What works for me?

Start All Over – when you get stuck, use these five questions to discover the one thing that the people God has entrusted to our care need to know.

What do they need to know? INFORMATION

Why do they need to know it? MOTIVATION

What do they need to do? APPLICATION

Why do they need to do it? INSPIRATION

How can I help them remember? REITERATION

Andy Stanley, Communicating for a Change

A NEXT STEP

 Think of a recent situation where you were stuck in the preparation of a presentation, sermon, or teaching element. Take this situation to your next leadership team meeting for a collaborative session.

On a chart tablet, list Andy Stanley’s five questions from the “Start All Over” section above. For each of the five questions, solicit answers from your team in a true brainstorming session (no judgments allowed).

After completing each of the five questions, go back through the lists and circle the three most valuable phrases and comments for each question.

As a group, decide on which single word or phrase is your team’s best choice, and underline it.

To complete the exercise and make it useful for both individuals and groups in the future, spend 30 minutes talking through the process of the individual and team choices. Note any applications for future use when you are stuck in your preparation, and apply those applications to help you move forward.

Taken from SUMS Remix 29-2, published December 2015.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book. As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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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.

5 Practical Points in Leading a Turnaround Church

A church split, a failed leader, changing economics or an aging congregation, there are many reasons for a church to be struggling and in decline. In fact, of the approximately 350,000 churches in the U.S., far more are in need of a major turnaround than are healthy and growing.

It’s true that both church planting and the multi-site model are highly productive strategies to advance the local church, but we can’t ignore or dismiss the tens of thousands of struggling churches. There is always hope!

My friend Brad Powell led his church to a great turnaround and found so much passion for helping struggling churches that he wrote a book titled: Change Your Church For Good, The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping. (Thomas Nelson) I highly recommend it.

There are layers of complexity involved in any turnaround church scenario, but the core principles are always similar. The following practical points will help you lead your church back to the place you dream it could be.

1.    Think leadership. 

Most struggling churches think problems. Leaders think solutions. John Maxwell says: “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” It’s true. A church can be friendly, debt-free, and teach the Bible and still be going nowhere.

A leader brings purpose to the party. It’s great that the church gathers, but after a few hundred Sundays of “church” without a clear purpose the people find other things to do. Busy is no longer a virtue. Reaching people for Jesus has always been the central theme and mission of the church, anything other than that is largely just being busy doing church. It takes leadership to drive mission because the church naturally drifts toward comfort in fellowship rather than risk in reaching people.

The pastor and leaders need to be willing to make tough decisions or a turnaround will never happen. Most churches are just one tough call away from a breakthrough, and the leader usually knows what it is. It’s the willingness and courage to actually do it that makes the difference.

2.    Tell the truth.

You can’t solve a problem if you won’t admit there is a problem. Churches and their leaders work so hard to keep everyone happy and everything nice. The problem with that is that it’s not real. Get comfortable with problems because you will always have them. Good leaders solve them and thereby move the ball down the field. Essentially a leader makes progress, (toward the vision), solves problems and helps people.

It’s healthy to talk about a ministry area that is weak and in need of improvement. Maybe it’s the children’s ministry, or perhaps the usher’s team or the worship team.

That’s okay, as long as you do something about it. Perfection isn’t the goal, the point is to make progress. The conversations should not be negative or discouraging, just honest. Never allow meetings to turn into complaint sessions. Gather small groups of leaders who will be candid, positive and produce solutions. It can be done!

3.    Establish trust and hope.

It is not uncommon for a struggling church to have experienced some form of hurt or discouragement. This usually involves broken trust and thereby erodes hope.

Healing is needed to reestablish trust and this takes time. There are several ways this can happen, and often requires multiple efforts. For example, the pastor can teach a “Shepherding” sermon series through the Psalms. The pastor or board members can lead small group discussions for honest conversation to take place. And an outside consultant can be brought in to help bring the congregation through a difficult season.

If broken trust is not the issue, but the congregation is tired and has little hope, hope can be restored by quick wins and vision. Remind the congregation that the Church is God’s idea and He owns it! He wants it to work and gives the power of the Holy Spirit for that very purpose!

4.    Realize the power of quick wins. 

Effective church ministry is more like a marathon than a sprint. It’s a long road full of hills and turns. Small victories along the way are vital to finishing the race, and essential to begin the turnaround process.

One small church was discouraged and didn’t think they could do anything. Every wall in their worship auditorium was covered in dark wood paneling and several light bulbs were burnt out. It was depressing. The pastor inspired the congregation to raise about $800 for paint, supplies and light bulbs. They tore down the paneling and painted a fresh coat of white paint and it was like they were in heaven. They were fired up again!

Another pastor raised about $600 and started a food co-op in their town. Their church became outward focused and in one weekend they felt renewed and recharged. Both congregations began to believe they could turn things around. The small wins gave them tangible and practical hope for success in the future!

5.    Create spiritual intensity within your vision. 

Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of churches, many of whom craft an intelligent, biblical and creative mission/vision statement. But for some reason it doesn’t seem to work. In many cases, one of the primary missing ingredients is spiritual vitality. There doesn’t seem to be a sense of spiritual intensity that carries with it a passion to make things happen and go the extra mile to reach one more person.

Prayer is at the core of spiritual intensity and evangelism is a close second. Together they will keep a church white hot for the vision. Intensity does not suggest weirdness. It’s not an ascetic sense of guilt driven sacrifice. It’s actually the opposite. Its origin comes from people who genuinely love God and are fired up about Kingdom work, so much so that joy and service are a natural by-product.

Vision requires strategy. If you are not sure where to start, focus on improving three areas. 1. Your worship service. 2. Your children’s ministry. 3. Your small groups ministry. And always undergird the ministry processes with leadership development.

For ideas on leadership development, visit my blog at danreiland.com.

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

See more articles by >

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.