CHARACTER—who you are becoming on the inside. Your character forms the “root” of your ministry. “The root of the righteous yields fruit” (Proverbs 12-vs-12). Your effectiveness is the fruit. Ministries can be “successful” for a season on energy and gifts but a leader whose gifts outweighs his character will eventually falter. Apart from character, ministry is merely religious activity. Character is the foundation for effective leadership. Your effectiveness in ministry will be an overflow of who you are and who you are is the single most important aspect you of your ministry. Character is comprised of honesty- -conforming our words to what is true, integrity– conforming our lives to our words–our “yes” is “yes,” consistency, loyalty, discipline, and allowing God to conform us to the image of Christ through His Spirit and Word–all developed over time. In most other professions character is optional. In ministry, it is indispensable.
FAITH—believing and responding to God. A leader can be developing in his character and skills yet without faith he will not be effective. (Psalm 78-vs-9) says that “the men of Ephraim were equipped with bows yet turned back in the day of battle.” They had the skills–they were great shots but they did not have the faith to go forward in the day of battle. Faith is the indispensable ingredient to effectiveness.
SKILLS—the “how-to's” of your job. A leader can exhibit strong sanctified character and not be effective because he hasn’t developed the skills required to do the job. (Psalm 78-vs-72) says that King David “shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart and guided them with a skillful hand.” (Proverbs 22-vs-29) says, “Do you see a man skilled in his work, he will stand before kings…” Ministry skills, people skills, communication skills, administrative skills and leadership skills all need to be developed and honed. What things do you need to learn in order to reach your goals? Growth always involves learning new skills. Leading is learning. Work to become an expert at the job of being a team leader in the kingdom of God.
THEY DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE IMPORTANT, THE NECESSARY, AND THE URGENT
THE IMPORTANT components of your job as a leader are the “right things” that must be done in order to be effective over the long-haul. Although they may not even be written in your job description as a leader in the Kingdom of God. They are of utmost importance because they contribute to the accomplishment of your mission, your values, and ultimately define who you will become as a person and leader. Important things rarely scream for your attention or seem urgent. They are often difficult to measure and can be neglected for a time without any harm. However, if these are neglected over a period of time you will not have the personal resources to lead your ministry. Practically speaking, the important aspects of your job have to do with development of learning who you are and how to utilize your gifts.
a) Developing, renewing, and restoring your relationship with God. This is your daily time meeting with God, in His Word and prayer. We cannot engage in spiritual warfare without sufficient spiritual resources. You need time to recharge your spiritual batteries–to refill the well from which you minister. If your responsibilities are greater than your resources, you will slowly burn out. Genuinely walking with the Lord is not merely important but it is essential to everything we are and do.
b) Developing your relationships with those who are most important to you–your wife,husband, children, friends, ministerial team,and disciples. You cannot neglect those closest to you in your quest to reach the kingdom of God or world.
c) Developing your mind. Reading, studying, reflecting, thinking are important aspects of your gift. When you stop learning, you stop growing. Remember, you are not developing your mind simply to grow personally but also to be a more effective resource and minister to others.
d) Developing your skills. It is never a waste of time for a woodcutter to sharpen his ax.
e) Developing your vision and plan. You cannot effectively lead without knowing from God where you should be doing and going.
Isn’t it interesting that, under pressure, the first thing to go is our time with the Lord, then time with those who are most important to us? We need to learn to eliminate those things at the bottom of the list of important things rather than those things at the top.
THE URGENT. The important had to do with doing “the right things.” The necessary had to do with doing “things right.” The urgent has to do with doing things “right now.” These are the fires that need to be put out–things which require our immediate attention–crisis, conflicts, emergencies, deadlines, etc. Urgent things are part and parcel of the job. They are “the tyranny of the urgency of the hour.” There is a difference between dealing with the urgent and being controlled by them. As one man wisely stated, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of those things which matter least. We react to the urgent but we need to consciously act to accomplish the important.
Allow God to lead you, and focus on the giver, and not the gifts, and that is when your gifts will allow you to flow.