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Three Questions to Shape Transformational Leadership

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” Flannery O'Connor

With apologies, if this observation is too deep, or not deep enough. As always, I’m writing to understand what I think, and working it out in this journal.

At the Pinnacle Forum National Leadership Conference, the conversation for 48 hours centered upon living the fullness of Christ-centered leadership in turbulent times.

The appeal of the Pinnacle Forum National Conference is the opportunity to be engaged with and challenged by Christian leaders who are on the front line of a Biblical worldview and cultural transformation. The experience is truly authentic, personal, intimate, and powerful.

There are no distractions—no light show, smoke, or overly-produced environments—and a refreshing absence of popular (church) culture speakers whose presence is a supplement to the book sales tables.

The speakers, widely respected cultural leaders of the body of Christ, delivered thoughtful perspectives on transformational leadership and the affirmation of our calling to be engaged and influential leaders where we are called.

The challenges each attendee received are meant for you as well. If you weren’t able to attend (and if you did, why didn’t you say hello?), allow me to ask the following questions that will help you be a transformed leader:

As a leader, what kind of lover are you?

Tom Holladay, the teaching pastor at Saddleback Church, shared this powerful observation:

“Leaders are not always great lovers; lovers are not always great leaders. Jesus wants them to work together.”

Jesus never specifically spoke about leadership. However, he did command us to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” (Mark 12:29 NLT). In other words, your motivations and passions, your decisions and deeply-held beliefs, your thoughts, and all you do must be a reflection of your love for God.

Is at least one of your mentors dead?

Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, affirmed the need for mentors and suggested the first place we should look for a mentor is in the past.

If you’re in need of a mentor like this, I recommend Francis Schaeffer, who also profoundly influenced Dr. Moehler:

“…most importantly during that time, it was the man who is the central figure of that chapter of what you call “The Evangelical Thinkers,” and that was Francis Schaeffer. That is how I became aware of theological liberalism and modernism after looking for how I could identify and ground my beliefs in orthodox, historic Christianity over against the secular onset. I think for many people in my generation there would at least be a very similar story.”

Are you thinking inside your spheres of influence and working outside your comfort zone?

Dr. Beverly Upton, President of Haggai International, reminded us that to transform culture,

“Start from within and begin at the top.”

You’ve been placed by God in one place at a specific time. Use whatever platform God has given you to shape the culture in which you work, and influence the people closest to you at all times with the truth of Scripture.

It is with those closest to you that your influence and thoughtful leadership is tested and refined. This sphere is your comfort zone, don’t get too comfortable within it. After all, Jesus didn’t instruct the disciples to expect people to come to them; likewise, Jesus’ direction to Paul was not to stick close to home.

The real work happens outside your comfort zone. More often than not, God’s command is to go somewhere and do something. Expect God to direct you and call you to act.

A colleague recently commented, “I'm determined to work outside my comfort zone, just not comfortable in it!” That’s the healthy tension in which we live and work out our faith and apply it to our business and vocation.

Are you comfortable where and when God has you placed you? Then perhaps you’re in the wrong place.

You and the culture in which you serve will be transformed for His purpose when you embrace God’s direction, timing, and location. Find that place!

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