LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
August 19, 2004

LeaderLines is a weekly “e-briefing” providing valuable information and inspiration to those who serve at Hillcrest Baptist Church.

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Here is this week's LeaderLines. . . .

“Challenge for the New Church Year”
by Tom Goodman

“What is needed to blaze a trail that others will follow?”  That’s the question the English pastor John Stott asked in one of his books, and he suggested five essential marks of leadership.  As Hillcrest begins another service year (September-August), take a moment to review your leadership for the following marks.

According to Stott, the first mark of leadership is vision.  Stott defines vision a combination of “a deep dissatisfaction with what is and a clear grasp of what could be.  It begins with indignation over the status quo, and it grows into the earnest quest for an alternative.”

Second, there is work.  “Men of vision,” Stott says, “need to become men of action. . . .  Without the dream the campaign loses its direction and its fire; but without hard work and practical projects the dream vanishes into thin air.”

Third, there is stickability.”  Okay, that’s not Stott’s word.  In fact, you won’t find that in any dictionary, but it was a word I was raised with.  Caesar may have said, Veni Vide Vince—“I came, I saw, I conquered.”  But in my house the slogan was Veni Vide Velcro—“I came, I saw, I stuck with it.”  Stott says, “Perseverance is certainly an indispensable quality of leadership.  It is one thing to dream dreams and see visions.  It is another to convert a dream into a plan of action.  It is yet a third to persevere with it when opposition comes.”

Fourth, there is service.  “No leadership is authentically Christlike,” Stott says, “which is not marked by the spirit of humble and joyful service.”

Finally, there is discipline.  Leaders have “not only self-discipline in general (in the mastery of their passions, their time and their energies), but in particular they have the discipline to wait on God.”  After all, it is God who gives guidance and strength and the other gifts of his grace.

Well said.  The calendar page turns, and a new service year begins for our many ministries.  Stott’s final challenge applies to all of us:

Don’t be content with the mediocre!  Don’t settle for anything less than your full God-given potential!  Be ambitious and adventurous for God!  God has made you a unique person by your genetic endowment, upbringing and education.  He has himself created you and gifted you, and he does not want his work to be wasted.  His purpose is that everything you have and are should be stretched in his service and in the service of others.

John Stott’s chapter, “A Call for Christian Leadership,” is found in Decisive Issues Facing Christians Today, pages 367–379.

Important Note:

Send an E-Card!  Patty Bailey has created an attractive e-card to promote our new Sunday morning series, Movie Messages.  Send your friends an e-card at www.HillcrestAustin.org/ecard.