28 Dec #153 – Eight Keys for Starting 2023 Leading Faithfully
ESSENCE: If you are a faithful leader leading an organization, the start of 2023 is a great time to begin being more intentional about leading faithfully. In fact, the best time is always “today”. A key element of the RENEW step of Integriosity is re-ordering disordered priorities by looking at Biblical principles for work and business. It is important to go back to first principles by asking what the Bible tells us are the keys to everything else. To get your faithful leadership kicked off “right” for 2023, we want to offer eight “keys” that will help resist the momentum of the world, bust myths, unlock truth, and identify distractions and detours on the path to leading faithfully through business a better way in alignment with Biblical beliefs, principles and priorities.
It was three years ago that we sensed a push from the Holy Spirit to start dripping out Integriosity® ideas in weekly blogs starting in January 2020. Here we are with 152 posts “in the bag”.
Little did we know that a pandemic was just around the corner. Of course, little do we ever know what’s coming around any corner or even what tomorrow will bring. Thankfully, God does. As we have said many times, what we can do (and are called to do) is the next “right thing” and be sure we are doing it in the “right way” and for the “right reasons”.
We believe getting started on “leading faithfully” through business a better way in alignment with Biblical beliefs, principles and priorities is a “right thing”. If you are leading an organization, the start of 2023 is a great time to begin being more intentional about leading faithfully. In fact, the best time is always “today”–or in the words of Dr. Matin Luther King, Jr.:
The time is always right to do the right thing.
To get your faithful leadership kicked off “right” for 2023, we want to offer eight “keys” to guide the effort.
The Importance of Starting NOW
The decision about WHEN a faithful leader should begin to be intentional about leading faithfully is straightforward because there are only two choices: NOW or NEVER.
You may be saying “Wait a minute–there are many time slots in between NOW and NEVER–like TOMORROW or next Tuesday.” Sorry, “tomorrow” never comes (and J. Wellington Wimpy proved that next Tuesday also never comes—and that one may date you).
Obedience to God’s principles, values and priorities is not for TOMORROW–it is for TODAY. Once a faithful leader understands God’s purpose for work and business and understands that they are a steward of an organization that belongs to God, there is no justification for delay. It is time to begin doing something!
Get on the Covert-Overt Continuums, anywhere, and trust the Holy Spirit to move you over time. In the words of Rick Warren: “When the Creator of the universe tells you to do something, he expects you to do it—now. Every parent knows delayed obedience is disobedience.”
If Biblical passages are needed, here are just a few:
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17)
I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments. (Psalm 119:60)
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. (1 Peter 1:14)
The Importance of HOW and WHY
It is not uncommon for an organizational leader to call people to “do the right thing”. After all, the alternative is pretty unappealing–“do the wrong thing”. Treat our customers poorly? Break the law? Violate our contracts?
But we believe leading faithfully through business a better way requires considering more than just WHAT you do. It requires also considering HOW you do it and WHY you are doing it. For example:
• HOW: An employee can do the right thing (meet a sales target, increase profit, secure a customer) in a way that would not look like faithfully “doing right”. Righteous targets and goals can be achieved through means that are unethical or even illegal, such as through deception or bribes. They can also be achieved in ways that are uncaring or even exploitive or hurtful to other people (whether customers, fellow employees, vendors or suppliers), communities or creation. HOW matters!
• WHY: It is also possible to do the right thing, in the right way for all the wrong reasons. Rick Warren wrote “Integrity is uncorrupted motivation. It means you do the right thing, and you do it for the right reason.”
“Doing the right thing” in an organization ultimately means furthering the ultimate purpose of the organization. “Doing the right thing” in an organization being led faithfully in alignment with Biblical beliefs, principles and priorities means furthering an ultimate purpose that aligns with God’s priorities–and that is not Profit as Purpose.
The time is always right to do the right thing. (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
8 Keys for Starting 2023 Leading Faithfully
A key element of the RENEW step of Integriosity is re-ordering disordered priorities by looking at Biblical principles for work and business. It is important to go back to first principles by asking what the Bible tells us are the keys to everything else.
We believe there are eight keys that will help a faithful leader resist the momentum of the world, bust myths, unlock truth, and identify distractions and detours on the path to leading faithfully through business a better way in alignment with Biblical beliefs, principles and priorities–they flow from what a BIGGER Gospel teaches us about the things that really matter to God, about how He wants us to care for and cultivate those things, and about who we are, why we are here and where we are going.
1. “Stuff” Matters to God. After all, He made all of it and then commanded us to add our creativity and productivity to rearrange it into things that Beautify the world. That means work and business that creates “stuff” matters. It also means that the “stuff” of God’s creation matters.
2. Work/Business Matter to God. Remember, God created work before the Fall as a good thing, humans were created to work just like their Creator, God created the earth to need human cultivation, humans were created for community in the image of a relational Creator, and business is a platform for working together in community toward a common purpose
3. We Are Stewards. Every organization and all natural capital belongs to God, and humans are charged in the Creation Mandate with caring for it and cultivating it. Of course, this means that the care and cultivation needs to further the purpose of the owner–not the goals of the cultivator.
4. Flourishing Matters to God. Humans are called to be more than just “good”–we are called to be “Godly”, creating environments of Shalom conducive to the flourishing of others by loving our neighbors. Work and organizations exist as part of God’s design for the flourishing of His creation–which includes humans and communities.
5. Culture Matters to God. Culture is about relationships, and God is about relationship. Culture is one of the things we build in obedience to the Creation Mandate.
6. Restoration Matters to God. A BIGGER Gospel shows that we are called to participate in God’s restoration plan for His Kingdom. As a platform for productivity and creativity, business is important to facilitating our participation in that plan, which itself makes us more fully human and promotes human flourishing.
7. It’s About Flourishing Not Profit. God is relational, and Genesis is about relationships. Nothing in Genesis supports Profit as Purpose for work or for work in community through organizations. Work and organizations exist as part of God’s design for the flourishing of His creation, particularly humans and communities.
8. It’s Not About “Looking” Godly. God cares about the heart–the heart of a person and the heart of an organization–far more than the appearance. Good stewardship from a Godly heart may lead an organization to adopt practices that are more covert about their faith-driven purpose.
PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): Priorities! Priorities! Priorities! As I think about my life, disordered priorities have often been at the root of trials, fears, mistakes and missed opportunities.
• Relational Priorities. In post #039, I explained how I discovered disordered priorities (literally upside down priorities) when my marriage was disintegrating in 2003.
• Time Priorities. Today is far more important than Tomorrow (or Yesterday). When I prioritize Tomorrow, I can miss what God has for me Today. When I worry about Tomorrow before it comes, I can be robbed of Today’s joy (W. Paul Young wrote a wonderful post about what happens when we “future-trip” into Tomorrow). My friend Dan Tocchini taught me “Your Today is robbed by your expectation of a Tomorrow“–I can put off doing what I should do Today until a Tomorrow that never comes.
• Kingdom Priorities. I can either prioritize the pursuit of God’s Kingdom or Paul’s kingdom–guess which one works best.
• Identity Priorities. I can be a lawyer first, doing it in a Christian way (a Christian lawyer) or I can prioritize my identity as a son of the King (a follower of Jesus currently disguised as a lawyer).
I know the priorities I want to prioritize, but reading Romans 7:15 sometimes makes me think I am named Paul for a reason. I hope I do a bit better in 2023 than I did in 2022.
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