I WAS EXCITED TO BE ASKED TO WRITE THIS ARTICLE. In my life as an author and ministry leader, I come across hundreds of resources that I love to share. Fortunately, before I let my enthusiasm run away with me, I took time to pray and ask God to weigh in on the best ones to mention. I expected Him to give me some insight into how to narrow the list down to five, but His answer left me reeling:
“The most important resources you need as a leader lie in Me, and I dwell in you.”
Taking a mental step back, I pondered those words. Did I truly have everything I needed as a leader? When evaluating a new thought, I did what I always do. I took out pen and paper, along with my Bible, and began to work my way through this concept. Turns out, it was God I heard. And here are the resources I discovered.
TOP 5 RESOURCES FOR LEADERS
1. The Holy Spirit.
It’s almost a cliché — and a Sunday school answer. Because it’s so obvious we overlook and discount the foundational necessity of this resource. By not looking to this Helper as our first resource, we miss the most powerful asset we have as a leader. Only God knows what is beyond the horizon. When we go to Him first, He can give us the insight we need before the need arises.
2. The power of quiet.
We are identified as leaders because we get things done—and we motivate others to get things done. The flip side of that gift is the tendency for overwork. If we’re not working in the Spirit, we can find ourselves exhausted as we try to power through just one more project. Times of quiet renew our strength, fill up the well inside us so that we have the energy to work from.
3. The gift of prayer.
Yes, prayer can happen in the quiet. But prayer is a conversation with God, and that can — and should — happen anywhere. The Bible reminds us that if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God (James 1:5). How often do we evaluate a situation and act before we ask God for His input? Taking time to pray can give us the insight we need at the moment we need it.
4. A foundation of the past and a vision of the future.
God has allowed each of us to travel a unique path. This individual journey has been used by God to equip us to become more like Christ and to help others along the way. The lessons we’ve learned aren’t meant to be discarded. They’re given to us to be used as currency — a savings account of wisdom through experience. Each of us must have a vision of the future. It may or may not contain details, but we must have a goal to work toward.
5. Wise advisors.
We all know it is a foolish leader who fails to heed the wise counsel of others. It’s important to build a team and surround ourselves with those we trust. This community isn’t meant to be used as a chorus of agreement or affirmation. No, we need those who will speak the hard truth with the voice of love. Then, in the midst of our planning and execution, we must take time to stop and listen to what they are saying. Sometimes it takes some digging to get to the heart of what’s being said, but it’s always worth it when we hear the advice of others we trust.
God also works through others to give leaders what is needed to lead. It’s up to each of us to find the external resources that best fit what God has called us to do.
Here are some places and types of things to look for.
TOP 5 EXTERNAL RESOURCES
1. A topical Bible verse website.
There are many out there, but my personal favorite is www. openbible.info. When I need a starting point to find out what God’s Word has to say about a certain subject, this website is where I turn.
2. A method of organization.
God has designed each of us differently. Some of us resonate with spreadsheets; others prefer handwritten lists. But as a leader, we must have a system that helps us monitor progress, people and resources. Beyond that, this system should ideally work well with a team. Personally, I use the Bullet Journal™ system by Ryder Carroll, www.bulletjournal.com. For my team, Evernote is an excellent resource, but so is Dropbox and Google drive.
3. A prayer team.
Early on in my ministry, I was advised to assemble a team of people who would pray for me and what God had called me to do. I truly don’t know what I would have done without this group of godly intercessors.
4. A place of inspiration.
5. A plan to keep growing.
I make it a priority to continue to grow as a leader. I attend seminars, workshops and conferences. I read books and I’m part of a leadership mastermind group that challenges and equips me. My resource for all this is the Advanced Writer and Speaker Association, www.AWSA.com. Whatever branch of ministry God has called you to, you should also consider a professional organization to help you stay equipped. The world is moving too quickly to go this path alone.
Leadership can bring great joy, but it’s also a burden. We must learn to lay that burden at the feet of the one who issued the call. When we let Him carry the weight and manage the path, great and mighty things can happen.