Let's Be Inspired Together Blog Articles

 

Invisible Leadership

Many distinctive components separate Christian leadership from leadership within a secular organization. The servant attitude, our bottom line (people!), the fact that we exist for those who are not a part of us. Another distinctive is ‘Invisible Leadership.'

Invisible Leadership (IL) is the supernatural ability to see beyond what is visible before us. IL leads people toward all the necessary resources that are needed and promised to fulfill God’s purposes. A role of a Christian leader is to lead not from the ‘visible’ (what we see), but from the invisible (what we don’t see!). Christian leadership is about seeing beyond the budget struggles, the systemic functions, the relational dynamics, etc. – with eyes of faith – into God’s reality.

The prophet Elisha functioned in this way. There was a battle raging among the Israelites, and the Arameans and the King of Aram are getting poorly beaten…

2 Kings 6:11 "This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, "Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?" 12 "None of us, my lord the king," said one of his officers, "but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom." 13 "Go, find out where he is," the king ordered, "so I can send men and capture him." The report came back: "He is in Dothan." 14Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. 16 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Elisha, upon waking up in the morning is told that armies of the enemy surround them. He exercises invisible leadership as he says in faith, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Elisha’s servant was only able to see just the immediate reality - a City surrounded by enemies. But Elisha exercised ‘invisible leadership’ and saw a larger army covering the hills that surrounded the city. The city was occupied – that was the reality that the servant could see - but, through the eyes of faith, Elisha was able to ‘invisibly see’ that the hills surrounding the city were covered with influential friends who outnumbered the foes. Vast resources were available to win the battle…. just beyond the visible reality. Elisha was able to supernaturally see what God was doing just beyond reality when reality looked pretty bleak.

Elisha then prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened to what God was doing in the invisible. As the servant’s eyes were opened, he too saw what had been ‘invisible’ outside the lens of faith. One of the roles of a Christian leader is to open the eyes of those we lead to see the invisible.

The Apostle Paul understood invisible leadership as well when he wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:18 – “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” The phrase, “Fix our eyes” literally means an intense glare, a ‘laser focus.'

A study of the life of Jesus and his leadership style shows us that Jesus led from and into things that weren’t at first sight, visible or available. Jesus led by looking into the ‘invisible.' He saw

  • Disciples that didn’t exist
  • Opportunities that didn’t exist
  • Resources that didn’t exist
  • Volunteers that didn’t exist
  • Leaders that didn’t exist

Jesus saw us in our sin, our darkness, and our defeat and saw what we would look like if we could be forgiven and cleansed of their sin. I am so grateful that Jesus exercised ‘invisible leadership’ when He first looked at me.

Spiritual leaders must live a step ahead. Not looking solely at and being consumed just by what we can see, but leading towards (and from) the invisible resources that God has just in front of us if we could only step out in faith. In the kingdom, the current reality is never a reason to say ‘no.'

No "Yes, but"

“Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord!” he replied. The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.” “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.” Acts 9:10-14

This catalytic scripture is found right in the middle of one of the most dynamic and transformative stories in the New Testament – the story of Saul becoming Paul, the Christ-hater becoming a Christ-follower. William Barclay describes Ananias as one of the unsung heroes of the faith because of his role in this transformation, that grew to transform the world, was so significant.

 

How to Know your Purpose!

 

This scripture is found in Matthew 16 and I believe it tells us four things that we need to know if we want to be a vital and vibrant part of the church’s continual advancement.
 

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, H asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”[c]14 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”15 Then He asked them, “But who do you say I am?”16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah,[d] the Son of the living God.”17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John,[e] because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’),[f] and upon this rock, I will build my church, and all the powers of hell[g] will not conquer it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid[h] on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit[i] on earth will be permitted in heaven.” – Matthew 16:13-19

 

Know God (vs16)

 

Jesus initiates the conversation by asking who people are saying He is, but I am not sure that Jesus was primarily concerned about what others thought of Him. He wanted to know who His disciples thought He was. In fact, if Jesus were physically in a room with us today, I think he’d want to ask us the same question. Who do we say He is? It’s THE most important question. Get it right and we will ultimately gain everything. Get it wrong and we will ultimately lose everything.

 

Bold, brash Peter – perhaps by luck rather than logic – gets it right. Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Lord, the anointed one. And at this moment He comes to know Jesus in a whole new level. The penny drops and things change. While Peter had been with Jesus for a while, it was this realization that solidified the commitment between Jesus and Peter. And Peter’s life forever changed because of who he knew Jesus to be.

 

All mission starts with us knowing God. Do you know Him? Unless you know Him, you can’t follow Him, and if you don’t follow Him whatever mission you are on will be less than it could be. The apostle Paul, the pioneer of what it meant to mission said that he considered every other great achievement in his life a loss compared to knowing Jesus. We should as well.

 

Know God’s Voice (vs17)

 

As Jesus acknowledges that Peter has got the question right, He goes on to reveal the source of from where Peter got the right answer. It wasn’t that he’d heard it through the grapevine, or that he had intellectually put the pieces together. He got it right because God Himself had revealed it to him. In other words, God had spoken and Peter had listened.

 

The next crucial step in knowing our mission is to know God’s voice. We spend too much of our time trying to figure out what we want when our energies should be spent in following what God wants. His plan is always better for us. I have wasted way too much of my life trying to make things happen in my strength and will. But things never really take off in the mission until we are following God’s voice.

 

Jesus said it this way, “My sheep know my voice, and they follow me” (John 10:27). He’s the shepherd, the man with the plan, and our job is to follow.

 

Know the power of His Church! (vs18)

 

If we really want to make a difference, it’s crucial we understand the power of the local Church. All missions must tie back into the Church because it is only the Church that can bring the sustainable, holistic change necessary and the Church is God’s primary plan to change the world.

 

Jesus looks Peter squarely in the eyes – fully knowing all Peter’s failings and failures – and said to Him. “Peter – you are a rock. And on this rock, I will build my Church.” Despite all the well-publicized failures through the ages, the Church still remains as the bastion of trust, the dispenser of love, and the vessel of hope for our world.

 

And Jesus says about this Church, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. By this, the instruction is not that the Church should hunker down and protect itself against the darkness of the world, but that the church should assertively move into areas of darkness and shine Jesus’ blazing light. The gates of hell do not prevail because the church stands strong against them, they do not prevail because the church assertively and loving dispels the darkness. We cannot separate our ecclesiology (the church) from our missiology (our purpose).

 

Know what to do with what’s been entrusted to you! (Vs. 18/19)

 

Note that once Peter has known Jesus, known his voice, invited to know the power of the Church, he then is entrusted with a great responsibility. Jesus says, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you allow on earth will be allowed in heaven”.

 

As Jesus ushers these words he is giving us as believers an incredible responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we have to take very seriously. We have to steward it well and give our best energy and effort to making sure that we are as faithful and responsible as we can with what God has given to us.

 

So often we carry lightly the responsibility of our faith and its call to make a difference. We fail to realize that there is much resting on what we do. In order to steward well our responsibility, we have to know what to do with what God has entrusted to us.

 

God has an incredible plan for your life. It’s bigger and better and bolder and brighter than you could imagine. But in order to fulfill that mission, you have to know God, his voice, the power of His church and how you are going to handle what He has entrusted to you. Know your mission!

Sitting Outside or Standing Around?

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! – Mark 3:31-34

 

After his family believed that he was crazy and needed to be taken home (Mark 3:21), Jesus is fully aware of what his family is trying to do, yet also knows that he is not just in his right mind but also right in the center of the plan of his heavenly Father.

 

While disciplining his disciples, Jesus family comes to try and take him away for some R&R so that he can get his head straight. As with all interruptions (Mark 1:35, 2:1, 4:37, and 10:46), Jesus turns this moment into an opportunity to shape his understanding of what it really means to be a part of his family. His premise is that while it is important to honor our physical family, our spiritual family – our brothers and sisters in Christ – is a more binding relationship.

 

While this teaching takes issues with some of the idolatry that we associate with our own families, one of the challenging questions is found in the proximity of those who trust Jesus. 

 

Those who are questioning Jesus are sitting are “Standing Outside” of the place where Jesus is.  We stand outside when;

  • We desire interesting and uplifting companions—he wants to include the unfortunate.
  • We desire to know those who will help us get ahead—he desires the disenfranchised.
  • We desire to the comfort of family and selected friends—he desires that everyone be his family.

Those who are truly following Jesus are “Sitting Around” him. In doing so they are submitting to his teaching, willing and wanting to be close to him, and sharing a kind of family with him that his physical family was unable to do.

 

What’s your proximity to Jesus? In what ways are you “Standing Outside”? How are you “Sitting Around”? What do you need to do to spend more time sitting around?

 

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