As Christian leaders, we know God called us, loves us, and empowers us for the work of the ministry. But even though these truths are the wind beneath our wings, we sometimes take them for granted and lead on autopilot. How do we stay engaged with God and lead vibrantly?
When my husband was first learning to fly, he came home with tales of instrument-rated (IFR) pilots who read books while flying, did Sudoku puzzles, and even took naps! Just the thought of it gave me the willies, and I was grateful Ron was content to be a visual-rated (VFR) pilot.
3 Signs of Autopilot Leadership
- Boredom. Does it feel like you’re going through the motions? Have you settled into a blasé routine? Is there no new mountain to climb?
- Diminished joy. Do ministry advancements and life transformations that once swelled your heart, now have little effect?
- Lack of zeal. Is your conviction-level dipping? When you talk about the ministry, does it feel a bit rote?
I’ve been reading Ephesians lately, and noticed three ways Paul stayed strong in the Lord. The first two are contained in Paul’s prayers for the Ephesians, and the third is a prayer for himself. It’s clear from Paul’s writings that he knew how essential it was to stay connected to his Life Source.
3 Ways to Be Zealous and Effective
- Press in to know Jesus more. Paul prays that God will give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, and that our hearts will be enlightened so we’ll more fully realize the hope and glory and might of God. Begin praying Ephesians 1:17-23 for yourself, and ask God to open your eyes to see more of His goodness and grandeur.
- Experience more of His love. In Ephesians 3:16-19, Paul prays that God’s Spirit, in our inner being, will strengthen us so we’ll be rooted and grounded in His love and come to know its immeasurable vastness. Ask God to empower you to comprehend and personally experience His extravagant love.
- Be spiritually meek and dependent. This one surprised me. In Ephesians 6:19, Paul requests prayer that he’ll receive words in order to open his mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel. You’d think that Paul—an apostle who’d personally encountered Jesus—would never lack for words or zeal. But he was human, he recognized his spiritual need, and he requested prayer that he’d fulfill his life mission.
When you sense you’re on autopilot as a leader, make a commitment to engage more deeply with God and His Word. Press in to know Him more. Cry out for a greater revelation of His love. Pray for what you need to carry out your mission. Be vulnerable with others and ask for prayer. Your God—who is able to do far more than you ask or think—will respond, will empower you, and will be glorified (Eph. 3:20-21).
His divine power
has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him
who called us to his own glory and excellence.
2 Peter 1:3