Sweet Anna was telling me about some girl’s engagement diamond. They seem to be getting bigger, these diamonds. Why? Then it hit me. At least in some cases, the pressure to produce the reaction (pleasing her is at top of his list) causes the boy to go as big (or bigger) as he can afford in this all important diamond purchase. Pleasing her is number one.
Leaders fall into a similar trap. Pleasing people.
Whether it be her board or among major stakeholders, leaders find themselves trying to measure up to someone’s idea of what they should be or do (recently dubbed ‘metrics’). My contention is that when we look just at outcome not at progress, the tasks can cause us to lose sight of people. Measuring up to stakeholder’s expectations and the meeting of board directed objectives can become all encompassing. Sound familiar? Well, its even worse if you have no oversight, then you’re not sure who to please.
Now, this is not to say that objectives aren’t important (I value Peter Drucker as much as the next guy), but my question is based again on kingdom building. Did our board (or our elders, or deacons, or the vestry, or the session) prayerfully come to these objectives that drive the leader to her decisions? Are those objectives decided upon prayerfully? Really?
Does our oversight body really pray together and with us and seek relationship with us to know heart, gifts, “calling”? Really? If not, how can we know if we are building God’s kingdom or ours… or theirs?
Where there is God directed, God based relationship, leaders get together and invest significant time in prayer.
Let’s think hypothetically for a moment. Let’s say that at a given meeting or gathering of leaders, we were to invest more time praying together prior to talking and before deciding… what do you think might happen to the discussion process, to the decision making process? If leaders and their leaders were to practice this, how would that impact the relationships among them all? Do you think there would be more unity and unanimity? More peace? Clearer direction?
Oh, I’ve heard the other side… “I’ve been praying, its time to act!!!!!” You’ve been praying? Really? See its just you here, you and your conscience… oh, and God. He’s here too. You’ve been praying?
Sorry, I digress.
How would this idea of a significant time invested in prayer together affect the leader’s pressure to produce? See, if we are united in seeking God, God guides our work and then… then, wouldn’t we be better guided by Him?
Time????? If I ask if I have time to pray, whose kingdom am I building? Who is the real boss? God? or me?
If our companies, institutions, organizations, churches, schools or whatever find ourselves in a hard place, in a crisis. I ask us, how much and how often is our leadership praying together? How much and how often are the leaders of the leaders investing in prayer? Asking God to guide our minds and hearts toward decisions that build God’s kingdom, not ours, this should be our first (and perhaps out most time consuming) task.
I would suggest that the deeper we are connected to God, the better our decisions are going to be. We might then put people above tasks and we will find more unity than disunity when we pray together.
If there is disunity, if there is gossiping, if we are fighting a battle over decisions and goals and mission and strategy, we may need to reevaluate how much time we are investing in listening to and talking to God about these things.
I once heard some statistics about leaders and the time they devote to being with God, …just to be with God.
(Actually it was pastors not generally about leaders, but I apply it here anyway).
44% – less than 7 minutes per day
37% – 7-35 minutes per day
19% – 35 min or more
(Don’t ask me, a friend got them from a conference speaker citing some survey, I’m just illustrating a point here.)
Where am I?
Where are you?
I know where God is.
He’s right there, waiting to give us direction toward building HIS kingdom.
C. S. Lewis said that “If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire. If you want joy, peace, eternal life, you must get close to what has them.”
“I want wisdom!”
Where did Solomon get it?
I was talking to a pastor recently who was struggling with all that was on his plate. Could it be that this is because he is working in his own power without deeply connecting to God on a daily basis? Luther famously said, I have so much to do that I must pray and extra hour today. Spurgeon, Mueller, the reformers all talked about the need to cultivate the deep abiding relationship with God.
“Abide in me.” He said.
If we invest significant time with God as leaders, or as groups of leaders whether formally (as a board) or informally (as a group of friends), we will hear God better. We will see people differently, we will find tasks easier. We will build HIS kingdom, not ours. We will stop performing.
Who am I performing for today?
Whose kingdom am I building?