March 2012 The Mark of a Leader

By on February 27, 2012
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“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” — Norman Schwarzkopf

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. Philippians 2:3.

We celebrate our fourth annual Christian Leaders of the Future event this month. Prepare to be inspired. I read through most of the essays before we handed them off to the judges, and so it came as no surprise to me when all five of our judges handed them back five weeks later telling me how difficult a task it had been to score them. Over the past few weeks as we have been in planning mode for our afternoon awards reception for the 25 finalists, I have had the distinct privilege of compiling parts of their essays for the cover story. I have become quite fascinated by the common threads in their comments. After the hours I spent pouring over their thoughts on personal faith and its role in their life journey, I could write my own essay on “What Leaders Have in Common.”

Although their resumes are filled with service to others in a myriad of  venues, none of their accounts had an air of self-promotion about them. Most spoke with natural compassion about the joy of serving someone else. Does it seem unlikely or contradictory that there is a link between humility and true leadership? It seems that their actions on behalf of others are a result of their deep sense of God’s grace toward them personally. Becoming a leader evolved from that close relationship with the Lord. Like so many aspects of our Christian walk, it was God from start to finish. The credit and the glory are His alone.

I note another trait these young leaders displayed. There was a certain vulnerability and transparency in their writing…they were authentic. Could it be that only the truly strong can risk being vulnerable? Those who live to please Christ have an uncanny ability to be comfortable in their own skin. There’s a certain courage that comes with knowing who you are in Him. Others are drawn to follow authentic people.

You will find a strong leadership theme in several articles this month.

I highly recommend Martin Willoughby’s “As I See It.” You may have heard of  the Paradoxical Commandments, sometimes referred to as “Do It Anyway.”  What a code for anyone who names the name of Christ to adopt as his personal modus operandi. Talk about influence…salt and light…or whatever you call it. What an effective way to influence the world around you.

Andy Wimberly’s “Think Tank” addresses purpose. At different seasons of life purposes change. At 60…well, okay…recently 61, my own purpose is radically different than my purpose at 31. Sometimes I feel like I have lived several lives within the span of my years. And I have. And we all do. The folks that manage to grow with grace are those who recognize, accept, and continually discover purpose with each season. That would be living large and finding a way to be that salt and light God designed us to be. Did you ever think, as I do, that we would do that so much better if we weren’t so very….human? Thank God for grace again.

What issue highlighting high school seniors would be complete without a little tutorial for parents on letting go and launching that about-to-be college freshman. Dr. John Cox does not disappoint!

Fresh Finds, Christian Commerce, Food for Thought, Homeworks…we’re packed this month. I just love it when an issue is like that. It will take you a while to read it all! Enjoy!

-Marilyn

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