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Christian LivingChurch LifeLeadership

A Growth Cycle for Those Who Lead

As I have been writing and thinking about leadership, it caused me to think about how I have sought to grow over the years. Without realizing it, I have regularly practiced the following cycle. If I had time I would picture these components in a complete circle. For the sake of writing, though, I will lay them out in a linear fashion. 

Let me start with a foundation. I believe an effective Christian leader will be convinced of two things:

1. The Lord wants to continually teach me. The Lord is continually bringing circumstances into my life to make me a better leader. Leadership is a lifetime of lessons from the Lord. 

2. Blameless and faultless are different. When an art teacher gives an assignment to an 8th grader, he or may do his best. However, when that teacher gives that same assignment to a trained college student, he will do a much better job. The young child’s effort was blameless but not faultless. He was young and inexperienced! Similarly, we can lead as well as we know how, all the while knowing we need to grow. (You can see this article where this concept is spelled our more clearly.)

An Effective Leader Cycle
Given this understanding, here is the cycle I have tried to follow in my leadership both at church and home. If you are not a leader in your church, then you certainly are a leader in your family.

Conviction – The initiative to change something or go somewhere must come from convictions that this goal is what God wants. A godly leader leads his people to glorify God better. Thus a leader will have convictions about a healthy church, a healthy marriage, what it means to be a good father, how to handle the teenage years, etc. Without convictions, a leader is like a jellyfish, moving with the current.

Plan – Convictions must turn into a plan. A leader must bring God’s people to where God wants them using God’s methods. This requires a plan. Someone has said a goal without a plan is merely a dream. If we are convinced that certain characteristics of a healthy family or church glorify God, then we need a plan to get there. We don’t have to make up all the plans on our own. Others can help us here.

Execution – Having convictions about where God’s people should go and a plan to get there, there has to be the execution of that plan. There must be a blueprint and then there is the work to make it happen. A plan can look pretty on paper but there must be implementation of that plan. A good leader doesn’t just talk a good talk, he is down in the trenches making sure the plan is occurring.

Evaluation – This is often the missing piece in good leadership. After planning and execution, a smart leader is evaluating. In fact, a good leader is always evaluating. Was that event worth the time and effort? Did the class bear fruit? Is the new motivation or consequence for our child working. Too often we commit to activities without ever evaluating them. 

Learning – This is both the first step and the last step. As the first step, we learn from God’s Word and to gain convictions about what God actually wants for his people. Learning is also the last step. After evaluating some aspect we oversee, we want to go and gain more learning. We are never satisfied. We always want to be improving.

It looks something like this:
Conviction–>Planning–>Execution–>Evaluation–>Learning or 

As a parent or a church leader, I commend this process to you. Are you clear on where you are aiming? Do you have a doable plan? How is the execution going? And next is the often missing component–evaluation. Are you analyzing how things are working?