"As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem." Luke 9:51
 
Recently I have been meditating on the difference between the quality of some leaders as compared to others.  What makes leaders so drastically different from each other in the effectiveness and fruit of their ministry?  Are they just naturally more likable?  More gifted?  More thoughtful?  More charismatic?  More visionary?  One can quickly become discouraged at the thought that the best leaders are just naturally made that way by God and never need to work on improving their leadership skills.
 
The more I'm around high quality leaders, the more I realize that they aren't just naturally made.  I've discovered that the strongest leaders have a deep, intentional rhythm of leading themselves first before they lead others.   They are resolute, determined and intentional about going to hard places, just like Jesus.
 
You can see it in their daily, weekly and monthly schedules.
 
They spend dedicated, daily time in prayer listening to the Father. 
They ask for God's correction and direction in their life instead of spending all of their prayer time trying to recruit God onto their agenda.  They reflect on their ministry activity and priorities and ask the Lord for wisdom.
 
They spend dedicated time studying God's word and reading spiritual books.  You can tell these individuals are diving into understanding God's characteristics on more than just a surface level.  They have a grasp of His Word and it just naturally flows into conversations.
 
They have a proactive, teachable spirit.  These leaders don't wait around for someone to correct them, they seek out advice on a consistent basis from wise mentors who can give them Godly advice.  They don't seek to be validated, but expect to be taught something new about themselves and the world around them.
 
They are thoughtful and intentional about the way they approach life.
  Each conversation is an opportunity to serve.  Each meeting is a time to gain greater focus on the mission.  Times of rest and fun are carved out for refreshment.
 
What about you?  How are you doing at intentionally, resolutely leading yourself in order to be more effective in your mission?  Wouldn't it be incredible if City Life staff across the country were known for this?  Let's get better at this, together.

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