Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Leading from a Focused Life

Dr. RJ (Bobby) Clinton in his masterful work titled, “Strategic Concepts that Clarify a Focused Life,” states the following principles that have proven to be a guiding light for me over the years.

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to
do it, and to teach in Israel statues and judgments.       Ezra 7:10

“Clearly some Bible characters led focused lives.  There was purpose in what they did. Disciplined minds followed through on decisions that continually led to that purpose.  What can we learn about lives that are extremely focused?  Do they just happen?

“Leaders, must make decisions about life and ministry which flow from their understanding of who God has made them to be and for what God is shaping them.  These decisions will lead them to effective purposeful lives, which in retrospect will be seen to have been focused lives.  But it is not a self-seeking individualistic choice of life, but a seeking of what a SOVEREIGN GOD is doing—His purposes.  All of the focused life thinking must be done in light of a strong understanding of the Sovereignty of God.

“What is a focused life?  A focused life is:

• a life dedicated to exclusively carrying out God’s effective purposes through it,
• by identifying the focal issues, that is, the life purpose, effective methodology, major role, or ultimate contribution which allows
• an increasing prioritization of life’s activities around the focal issues, and
• results in a satisfying life of being and doing.

Dedicated usually indicates that there was some sort of second decision beyond just being a Christian.  That decision places all that the leader is or has at God’s disposal to be used by and for God.  From that moment on, the leader is on a pilgrimage to discover God’s special purposes, that is, a personal destiny with God.

Life purpose, effective methodology, major role, or ultimate contribution are called the focal issues.  That is, they are the major ways that God will reveal that for which we are designed.  In a nutshell, life purpose is the driving force behind what we do.  Major role is the occupational position from which we accomplish that life purpose.  Effective methodologies are means that are effective for us to deliver our ministry that flows from that life purpose.  And ultimate contributions are the lasting results of that ministry

“It is the discovery of these focal issues, that is, their movement from implicit to explicit, which provides the possibility of prioritization or in other words, proactive decision-making. The earlier we can discover these issues, the earlier we can proactively act upon them. The leader then makes strategic decisions, which take into account the discoveries. In short, they manifest aspects of a focused life.

“Note the final bold-faced words in the focused life definition, a satisfying life of being and doing.  Leaders who discover life purpose and any other focal issue, which synergizes with it, will see things happen in their lives.  They will become people of character.  They will accomplish.  When all is said and done and life is drawing to a close, they can look back and say, “Folks, you are looking at a fulfilled person.  I am happy with the end product of God’s shaping—who I am, what I have become.  I am happy at what God has done through me—what I have done.  Life was worth living.  It has been a fulfilling pilgrimage.  Praise God!” “

How’s your focus?

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