Dr. Craig L. Oliver
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!
“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”
- C.S. Lewis
In a world that promotes self-serving and egocentric behavior, humility is often a priceless commodity frequently overlooked. Attention grabbing activities aimed at bolstering already inflated egos seem to be commonplace on television and in the media. Unfortunately for many it seems that humility has taken a backseat to ambitious pride and arrogance.
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”
- Bobby Unser
Winners capitalize on the strategic moments when preparation and opportunity intersect in order to achieve high success. The mistake that many of us make while traversing the terrain between great ideas and successful execution is lack of preparation. Success is not an incidental or accidental occurrence, but rather, it is the result of intentional preparation.
“Praise is man’s response to the revelation of who God is.”
- Dr. Craig L. Oliver
Praise is one of the many tools that positions us to access the grace that enables us to be victorious! We Win Through Our Praise! Praise is man’s response to who God is and as such it solicits and invokes the Presence of the Lord becoming an indomitable force employed by the believer. Praise literally infuses the essence of who He is into our everyday circumstances! We can’t help but win when we praise our God!
“If I live my beliefs every day, God can use even someone as ordinary as I am to change the world.”
- Brad Wilcox
We have been called, as sons and daughters of God, to be Everyday Missionaries at ALL TIMES, to ALL PEOPLE, in ALL PLACES, to the end that God receives ALL OF THE GLORY! God has given us the wonderful privilege of this gracious work allowing us to partner with Him in the spread of His message of hope and deliverance through our words and deeds. This great work, however, doesn’t occur in a vacuum, but rather, in divinely-orchestrated everyday circumstances ripe with opportunity.
“You and I, today and always, are to bear witness of Jesus Christ and declare the message of the Restoration…Missionary work is a manifestation of our spiritual identity and heritage.”
- David A. Bednar
An Everyday Missionary is a missionary at ALL TIMES, to ALL PEOPLE, in ALL PLACES, to the end that God receives ALL OF THE GLORY! Sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ through messages and actionable deeds should be an everyday occurrence in the life of the believer. Opportunities for missionary work occur every day in the circumstances of our lives creating access points for us to share the Gospel of Christ, but we must be sensitive enough to our environments to discern those openings.
An Everyday Missionary is a missionary to ALL PEOPLE! This means we are to joyfully share the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone without regard to their race, gender, socioeconomic status, or any of the other things that can be used to classify people into various groups. We share the good news of the Gospel with ALL PEOPLE because we are called to minister to the needs of ALL PEOPLE.