Dr. Craig L. Oliver
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”
— Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch
It has been said that passion is the oxygen of the soul. Well if that is true, then passionate leadership is the lifeblood of any successful institution or organization. There is nothing more perplexing and discouraging than an organization that lacks zeal and excitement about the purpose for which they exist. Conversely, there is nothing more attractive than an organization where everyone exudes passion about the mission of the institution and actively carry it out with enthusiasm. This spirit of passionate deployment in the life of the institution is typically correlated with the passion of the leadership team. Collectively, we WIN through passionate leadership!
In the spirit of the times in which we live as well as our recent celebration of Father’s Day, I thought it apropos to share an article that I recently read entitled The 12 Things The Negro Must Do For Himself by Nannie Helen Burroughs. It originates from a booklet that was sold in the early 1900’s but echoes true given the climate of the times and the need for People of Color to transcend an ever increasing contradictory context. It was shared on the web by Black Men in America.com. Take a thoughtful and critical look at the list below and determine how it can apply in our modern setting individually and collectively.
- Dr. Craig L. Oliver, Sr.
- The Negro Must Learn To Put First Things First. The First Things Are: Education; Development of Character Traits; A Trade and Home Ownership.
- The Negro puts too much of his earning in clothes, in food, in show and in having what he calls “a good time.” The Dr. Kelly Miller said, “The Negro buys what he WANTS and begs for what he Needs.” Too true!
“You are not fighting for a victory…You are fighting from victory! Victory is already yours.”
- - Priscilla Shirer
The audacious and tenacious faith we possess to declare “i” WIN in all circumstances and over all adversity is founded in our connection to the ULTIMATE WINNER’s victory. We WIN because Jesus Christ emerged victorious over Death, Hell, and the Grave and by virtue of His victory righteousness and justification have been imputed to us. Moreover, our justification through faith in Him has given us access to His efficacious grace whereby we are empowered to stand victoriously! We WIN because He WON!
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”
- Winston Churchill
Perhaps one of the most challenging obstacles that we face in our lives is the challenge to remain focused and on task when there are multiple things competing for our attention. Even when engaged in God-inspired spiritual work the tendency to shift our focus to the most recent or sensational items can be compelling. The mark of a true WINNER is highlighted in the person who has the ability to maintain their focus regardless of distractions, fears, and alternative agendas contending for their attention. We WIN by remaining FOCUSED!
“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
— Oprah Winfrey
As human beings we were created with the innate need for connection. There is an inherent interdependency that is wired into our DNA that makes connection essential. It is critically important that we connect with the right people. This is especially true for those of us who are leaders because those to whom we connect can either further our vision or hinder it. One of the major keys of success is ensuring that we are strategically connected to the right people. Practically, the DOT has the premise in place where the requirement for riding in the HOV lane means you must have a person in the car with you. You can’t have access to the HOV lane without another person in the car. In some scenarios in order to have access and to accelerate in certain avenues you must be strategically aligned with another person. We WIN through strategic connections!
The new paradigm and concept for ministry is collaboration. Far gone are the days when the pastor or preacher is the solo leader of the church. The Lone Ranger mode of ministry is no longer relevant. Collaboration is the new normal. If we are going to successfully navigate the demands of leadership in this dispensation then we must ADJUST our attitudes and mindsets about leadership beginning with the idea of collaborative leadership. We WIN through collaboration!
Nehemiah is an excellent example of leadership in a collaborative context. The story of Nehemiah begins with many of the Jews having returned from Babylonian captivity. God had been faithful to His promise to return them to Jerusalem but the city was still a far cry from its former glory. A group of returning Jews had rebuilt the temple 12 years prior to Nehemiah’s involvement but the walls of the city had not been rebuilt leaving Jerusalem vulnerable to enemy raiders. When word of the condition of Jerusalem and its inhabitants came to Nehemiah, who was still serving as the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia, he was greatly burdened to see the walls of the city of Jerusalem rebuilt. Through Divine Providence he received permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem from the King of Persia and set out to Jerusalem to oversee the rebuilding effort.
“A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.”
— Ralph Lauren
Some of you may look at where you are in your life and ponder the question: How did I get here? The truth is, we all end up somewhere in life, but very few of us arrive to our destinations by way of intention. Clear vision is the deciding factor between arriving at your place of destination intentionally and stumbling along into it. True leaders understand the value of having clear vision!
The Israelites of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, were exiled to Babylon 150 years before Nehemiah’s time. After seventy years of Babylonian captivity and in accordance with the prophets, the Persians under King Cyrus, overthrew the Babylonians to assume power. By way of Divine Providence the heart of King Cyrus was moved to allow the Hebrews to return to Judah and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Nehemiah’s family along with many other Jews elected to stay in Persia as they had fared well under Persian rule. Nehemiah had been identified as an intelligent worker in the court of the king and rose through the ranks to become his cupbearer ensuring that wine served to King Artaxerxes was safe and serving as his counselor and confidant.
“The words of a man’s mouth reveal the abundance of his faith or the lack thereof.”
- - Anonymous
Faith is a fundamental virtue in the life of every WINNER. In order to WIN we must have faith that God is who He says He is, can do what He says He can do, and that He is efficacious in accomplishing everything that He has planned for our lives! Faith is critical to our status as WINNERS!
“My conscience is captive to the Word of God.”
One of the most powerful things that we can do as sons and daughters of God is to get into agreement with the Word of God. To agree with the Word of God means that we walk in step with its directions, ordinances, and trajectory. It means that we choose His will over our own even when our emotions would lead us elsewhere. WINNERS recognize the utter futility in trying to live a life contrary to God’s Word and conversely understand the power involved in aligning oneself congruent with it.
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
- - Paul Boese
How can walking in forgiveness be a tactical strategy for walking in victory? When we consider the strategy of the overcomer, the concept of forgiveness does not immediately come to mind. I propose, however, that forgiveness is one of the most powerful weapons that the believer can have in their arsenal. Forgiveness brings a restorative freedom in the life of the child of God shedding light in areas that would otherwise be consumed by darkness. We WIN through forgiveness!