Leadership as an Identity
The Four Traits of Those Who Wield Lasting Influence
Crawford W. Loritts, Jr.
Moody Publishers, 2009, 205 pp., ISBN 978-0-8024-5527-7
Crawford Loritts is a nationally known Bible speaker, author, and senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia. He says leadership is a calling from God to someone He trusts to implement and fulfill His assignments. Such people are marked by brokenness, uncommon communion, servanthood, and radical and immediate obedience. "Christian leadership always lives at the intersection of God, assignment, and a person." (11)
Chapter 1. On Assignment from God
We have made too much of leadership. It was never meant to be a status symbol or indication of personal worth. We must stop idolizing leadership. And we must avoid giving preference to competence over character.
"To be a leader is a sacred trust. And here's the key: God's priorities are so different, so supernatural, that only He can fulfill them…and He works predominantly through leaders who remember that truth." (25)
Chapter 2. A Desperate Need for God
"Brokenness is a conscious, core awareness that you need God in all things." "For a Christian leader, brokenness is a dear friend, and pride is the enemy." (36) "Brokenness is not a onetime event. It is never finished…." (36) "…it's an ongoing sense of inadequacy." (37) Leaders who depend on natural ability will at some point realize their abilities will take them only so far.
"God loves to be depended on. So He gives imperfect, inadequate human beings impossible assignments." (40)
Chapter 3. Surrendering to God
"Surrender is the leader's response to his brokenness." (43) "Effective Christian leadership is sustained by surrender." (44)
Chapter 4. Falling Into Sin
"…our call to lead must be viewed as a call to Christlikeness in every area of our lives. Overcoming sin and keeping our hearts and lives pure is our passion. We want people to follow us because we are following Christ. We're not just telling people what Jesus said; we are by His grace and strength living what He said." (56)
Chapter 5. The Strength of Weakness
Strong leaders don't want to be weak but Lorrits says we should welcome our weakness because weakness means you are usable. Paul said in his weakness God's power was made perfect. "Our Lord is not limited by your weaknesses. Instead, His power is more complete because of them." (62)
"Weaknesses come in all shapes and sizes--broken relationships, strong temptations, depression, tragic loss, feelings of inadequacy, mistreatment. It really doesn't make any difference what it is. The question is: What do you do with your weaknesses, failures, and wounds? Do you hand them over to God in exchange for His grace and strength…?" (63)
Chapter 6. Seasons of Brokenness
"God has a way of…letting us know that life is not about us…that we are not the one in control. God will do whatever it takes to remind us that there is never a single second in our lives when we can make it on our own. So He takes us through seasons and episodes of brokenness to keep us under His shadow and to tie our hearts to His. And in order for Him to trust us, sometimes He has to break us." (74) "It is during seasons of brokenness that we encounter and 'wrestle' with God and He marks our lives with a fresh sense of the reality that we forever need Him." (77)
"I have come to believe that a Christian leader's greatest mentor are the dark, lonely times in which God marks our souls with that profound sense of our need for Him." (78)
"If a leader doesn't humble himself, he leaves God no choice but to humiliate him. And He will because He must. The work of His kingdom cannot be left at the mercy of a leader who is wrapped up in himself." (83, quoting Tim Kimmel)
Chapter 7. His Resources
Truly great effective leaders are not always the "best" leaders. If the source of your leadership is your personal competency, your contribution to God's assignment will be mediocre. (88)
"Never underestimate the power of self-deception and the pull toward self-reliance… Do not trust yourself. Respond to God's call to be your source for everything." (92) The key word is source.
God uses what he gives you to both accomplish His assignment and to make you what He wants you to become. (93)
Chapter 8. His Presence
"Throughout the years, I've observed that before God makes clear to me what He wants me to do, I often experience a time or season of renewal in my heart." (106) The author cites several lessons from Moses' life in Exodus 33. One is that the challenges of leadership are meant to make you hungry for God. "We turn to God when our foundations are shaking only to discover it is God who is shaking them!" (108)
Another is that "God's presence is the distinguishing characteristic of your leadership. This is the battleground when it comes to distinctively Christian leadership." "The challenge you face as a leader is to intentionally acknowledge God's presence as you go about doing what He has called you to do." (109) "The Christian leader's walk with God is always on display." (111, quoting Monty Watson)
Chapter 9. His Direction
"Leadership is fueled by a compelling sense of mission. What inspires us to take action is an irresistible picture of either what should be done or what could be done. We then focus our determination to make it happen. This is true of all leadership. But there is more. Christian leadership is all about doing what God wants done. There is no leadership apart from a clear assignment from God." It is dangerous to make assumptions about what God wants done. (115)
"When we pray to know what He wants us to do, He shows us in many ways. Often it's a sense of conviction about a choice…." "God's pattern in the Scriptures is to tell His leaders just enough so that they can take the immediate steps of obedience." (116)
"God wants to meet with you. He wants to speak to you. Most of the time He doesn't shout or scream at you, but He just wants your undivided attention." (122)
Moses experienced a rare intimacy with God. This is the "uncommon communion." (122) "There is a certain 'activity addiction' that is associated with leadership." "And we drift away from listening to that sweet, assuring voice that says, 'This is the way, walk in it.'" (123)
Chapter 10. Authentic Humility
The key to servant leadership is not that it's a strategy but an identity. It is who you are. Think of yourself not as a leader but as a follower of Jesus. Seeing yourself as a leader will tend to make you proud and pushy.
"Humility doesn't mean that a leader won't correct, give directives, rebuke, or, if necessary, terminate a person's employment. Genuine humility and servanthood does the right thing and is not self-serving." (32)
Pride and humility have little to do with actions and choices but everything to do with motives and attitudes. "Humility is the intentional recognition that God is everything to you, and that you are nothing without Him. It is the acknowledgment that life is not about you, and that the needs of others are more important than your own." (133)
Chapter 11. The Dignity of Serving
"One of the convictions I have developed through the years is that those who work with me or report to me should feel as if I have invested more in them than I have asked them to give." "I never want them to feel as if I did not love them or care about who they are as people." (146)
Chapter 12. The Power of Sacrifice
The proof of whether leadership is a hobby or a passion is this: Are you willing to sacrifice yourself in order to serve those who serve you?" (158) "Sacrifice is love with clothes on." (159) "Contrary to every instinct and intuition in you, the way to profound fulfillment and an overwhelming sense of purpose is to give yourself for others." (160)
Chapter 13. Staying in the Game
Obedience. "To be a leader is a sacred trust. Our faithfulness in doing what God says is what really matters." (170) "When God is specific and clear about what He wants you to do, He does not give you the option to freelance or to improvise." (171) Obedience is not negotiable.
"Your attitude toward obedience is often influenced by your attitude toward authority." (172) "We tend to project our negative experiences with authority onto God. We either have problems trusting God, or we develop our own theology, making Him a 'softer God' who demands very little of us." (173)
"Our lives were meant to be the story of God in human history. God is making His statement through us." (174)
Courage is obedience in the face of opposition. If you are doing what God has called you to do, He is with you. You are not alone. (191) "Success or failure is determined by your obedience to the Word of God." (193)
A faithful person is one who steadily follows God and obeys Him consistently." (196) "We need to be acutely aware of the cumulative nature of our little choices." (199)
"There comes a time when you have to stop doing the things that you can do, and even the things that you are improving in, and concentrate on the things you were born to do." "What are you born to do? Are you faithfully focused on doing that?" (201)
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