Catalyst is a conference all about leadership and ridiculously cool stuff. We’ve got both for you today.
First the ridiculously cool stuff: A discount! The Catalyst conference is coming to Atlanta this Oct. 2-4. This year’s event features Malcolm Gladwell, Cory Booker, Bob Goff, Claire Diaz-Oritz, Jon Acuff, Amena Brown Owen and more. Register before Aug. 6 with the discount code “CMS” and you can get in for $209 (a $90 savings from the single ticket early bird rate).
Now for the leadership: Catalyst graciously agreed to share some insights with us as well as the discount. They offered the following reprint from pastor, activist and speaker Christine Caine about how to keep focus as a leader.
I think the most important aspect of our leadership journey is not necessarily how much we accomplish for God, but who we actually are becoming. Paul wrote, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” He did not say “do everything that I have done, accomplish more than me, build a bigger ministry than I did, preach to more people, plant more churches, build bigger buildings, and write more books!” He said imitate me and in so doing ensure that you are being conformed and transformed to the image of Jesus!
I think some of the greatest fruit and legacy I will leave the next generation is not all of my accomplishments for God but the fact that after all of these years in ministry:
- I am still passionately in love with Jesus
- I am fully committed to building his church
- I am still in awe of so great a salvation
- I am not bitter, offended or cynical,
- I am still pursuing his plan for my life
- I still believe the best is yet to come
- I still believe the best in and for people
- I still love my pastors and my local church
- I still believe it is a privilege to do what I do
- I adore my husband
- I delight in my daughters
- I don’t see a conflict between family and ministry
- I love God, life and people
- I am bruised and have taken some serious knocks, but I am still going
- I didn’t slow down at 40 but ramped up to another level
To some of you that might sound like a “weak” list of leadership accomplishments and perhaps you would think me more credible if I listed how many people I have spoken to, or how many books I have written, or how many speaking engagements I fulfill each year, or how many girls we have seen rescued and restored from human trafficking. We tend to admire lists, performance and accomplishments, and I agree that we should. But I also think we ought to measure the right things.
I find that the longer I continue in leadership the more “casualties” I find, and so it seems something is not working. It is not as easy to go the distance as some think. Often when we are starting we can never imagine being derailed, but unless we keep our heart, motives and actions right, at some point we will be.
In all of our doing we must continually evaluate our lives to determine whether we are in fact becoming more like Christ.
- Is our faith growing?
- Are we developing the fruits of the spirit?
- Are we enjoying the journey?
- Do we love God and his church more and not less?
- Are we still filled with awe and wonder or are we getting cynical, disillusioned, disappointed or discouraged?
- Are we more committed to building his kingdom rather than our own empires?
- Do we still value things like commitment, faithfulness, loyalty, submission, honor and respect?
It is amazing what we are willing to sacrifice on the road from “here” (wherever we are) to “there” (that elusive place we are all looking to get too). But what if that place “there” is not the place that God has for us? It might be the place that man values, that is in the limelight, and is celebrated, but not necessarily the place God has called you to. What if ministry and leadership are not just about more, bigger, better, quicker?
I have discovered that just because something is not known or applauded on earth does not mean that it is not recorded or valued in heaven. Some of the most significant kingdom enterprises may never be known by most of us this side of eternity.
We need to be faithful stewards of the gifts, talents and calling that God has given each one of us, but we must always remember that it is God that opens doors that no man can shut. Promotion comes from God. Our calling is not a career path; it is a calling from heaven.
I really only have one goal when it comes to my leadership. When I get to the end of my journey I want to be able to declare: “ I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
In order to accomplish this one goal, I have found these are the things that matter:
1. Heart attitude matters.
“Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it springs the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
More than anything else we must determine to keep our hearts right and to have a constant heart check up. Our heart will ultimately keep us on course or take us off course.
Leadership is an issue of the heart.
2. Timing matters.
“Let us not grow weary in doing good for in due season we shall reap if we don’t not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)
We must always remember that even though we need to plan, have goals, objectives, strategies, performance indicators, budgets and anything else that can help us get to where we believe God wants to take us, we cannot twist God’s arm or make something happen in our own strength. God has his due season and appointed time for all things. Remember that our due dates are often very different to his appointed times, so do not get discouraged or disappointed. Stay faithful.
Leadership involves understanding times and seasons.
3. Character matters.
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” (Proverbs 11:3)
It is important to remember that how we do what we do matters as much as what we do. The gift that is on your life will destroy you if your character cannot sustain you. It is crucial that we do not allow our gift to take us to a place that our character cannot keep us. We must ensure that there is no disparity between our inner or outer world or our overall world will collapse. In our hyper connected, hyper transparent world there is no longer any such thing as private behavior. Everything that now happens can be forwarded, tweeted, blogged about or appear on YouTube. People are looking for integrity and authenticity.
Leadership requires character.
4. Trusting God matters
“For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the judge, He puts one down, and exalts another.” (Psalm 75:5-6)
In the age of celebrity, social media, blogging and personal marketing I am stunned at how many people think they can market their way to a position or opportunity in the kingdom. I have discovered over the course of two decades that it is better to be marked by God than to be marketed by man.
You don’t want to be in a position that God has not meant for you, or the weight of it will eventually crush you. We must ensure we are not being driven by selfish ambition, but instead being led by divine destiny. Do not sacrifice your destiny on the altar of a position you desire by sacrificing the place that God has set you in. God sets every member of the body in place as he sees fit. Remember when Samuel was going to anoint the new King of Israel? He thought that Eliab was the one; Jesse thought any of his other sons were the ones; but God had ultimately marked David. When God marks you everyone else can get it wrong, but he will exalt you in due season.
Leadership is about trusting God.
Adapted from the Catalyst GroupZine Vol. 8. For additional information visit catalystconference.com.