It happens all the time in leadership. You have to make a critical decision in the next hour or the next day. Either way, there’s pressure to decide quickly. So how do you do that?
It’s tempting to go with your gut—to do what feels right in the core of your being. We’ve all done it. But is the core of our being always lined up with God’s wisdom?
Recently, a late-breaking opportunity/assignment came across my desk. I was asked to present material for a training video that would be used nationally. Opportunity-wise, I could help the national group. Assignment-wise, it would take time I didn’t have. Gut-wise, it was out of my comfort zone and I didn’t relish the added pressure.
I spoke with a colleague about it. Her first words were, “Seems like a distraction to me.” She knew my busy schedule and the importance of my current tasks.
I said, “Let’s pray about it,” and we did. As we prayed, my gut became more aligned with God’s heart. I began to see things from the national group’s perspective, and could see why they’d want leaders from the field to participate. More and more, it seemed like something I should say yes to. After we prayed, my colleague said, “The word ‘availability’ came to mind during our prayer.”
Ugh. That was the confirmation I needed. I essentially dropped everything, pressed through the weirdness of doing a sample videotaping—knowing it was what God wanted me to do—and sent it off to the videographer.
Had I gone with my gut, I would’ve bowed out gracefully. But had I gone with my gut, I would’ve missed God’s intention for me.
In the fast-paced world of leadership, it’s tempting to make gut decisions on the fly, hoping for the best. But leaders who take time to press into God and go with the Spirit’s leading—and not just their gut—have a far better track record of making sound decisions.
“Leaders who go with the Spirit, and not just their gut, have a far better track record of making sound decisions.”- Lisa Hosler
Think of a time your gut said one thing and God said another. Feel free to share your scenario in the Comment Section below.
The culture of a ministry is the foundational beliefs and values on which its relationships and decision-making are built. Godly leaders establish cultural consistency throughout the organization, even at board meetings.
The three cultural foundation stones at our ministry are:
1) honoring God
2) cultivating healthy relationships with each other
3) seeking God’s wisdom for decision-making
Anytime two or three staff members are in a meeting, we’re intentional about engaging with God as our Father, connecting with each other as brothers and sisters in Jesus, and discerning the Spirit’s plans for the ministry. It keeps us aligned with God. It’s invigorating for us. And it’s powerful for the ministry.
If you’ve read my blogs, you know that we’re proactive about engaging in our culture at board meetings as well.
These “Family Times” have primarily been staff-led—probably because it’s the world we live and function in, and it’s easy for us to carry it into board meetings. But recently, God impressed on us the importance of boards member taking a turn. That way each person’s gifting and relationship with the Lord can influence these meaningful times together.
For organizational culture to have integrity, it must be actively engaged in throughout your organization. Mentally comb through the various groupings of people in your organization—from volunteers, to staff, to board members, and assess the healthiness of the culture at each level. If you detect gaps or weak areas, work toward strengthening them. Great leaders ensure that their organizational culture is systemic and thriving.
“Great leaders ensure that their organizational culture is systemic and thriving.”- Lisa Hosler
Describe how your board participates in your ministry culture at board meetings. Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.
Leaders are born with a megaphone at their mouth and a laptop at their fingertips. Whether they’re giving stadium keynotes or elevator speeches, writing year-end appeals or weekly thank you notes, they paint the sky with their impassioned, flowery words. But… leaders who learn to write tight have happier readers.
Did you catch what I just did? In two sentences, I overloaded you with mixed metaphors and took you from cheerleading to technology to multi-sized venues and letters, and then switched to art and even nature!
I know this because I’m guilty of it. My book editor catches mixed metaphors all throughout my writing. Here are some tips I’ve learned. Let’s put them in the context of writing a fund raising letter.
In a recent fund raising letter, I used the metaphor of “drowning” to describe a client who was overwhelmed, and coupled it with the word “lifeline” to convey our vital help.
Jesus was famous for using metaphor as He communicated. Notice how clear, tight, and powerful His words are:
“I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst” (John 6:35).
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest?’ Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35).
Most leaders are passionate communicators and inadvertently mix metaphors to strengthen their messages. But just like Jesus, leaders who streamline their metaphors and pare down their words don’t diminish their messages; they enhance them.
“Leaders who streamline their metaphors and pare down their words don’t diminish their messages; they enhance them.”- Lisa Hosler
What’s one writing tip you’ve learned in your leadership journey? Feel free to share it in the Comment Section below.
In the rush and rigors of leadership, it’s important to have regular encounters with God that cause our souls to soar. While these moments can’t be manufactured, we can position ourselves to experience inexpressible times of joy with God that characterize our lives.
A few years ago, I had one of these moments with a treasured friend. We’d been on a meaningful spiritual retreat together, and afterwards debriefed over generous slices of chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. In between delectable mouthfuls, she said, “I love you, Lisa Hosler!” It was unplanned by her, unexpected by me—and swelled both of our hearts. It became the capstone of our time together.
This morning as I sat outside to be with God, I noticed the mist across the fields and the way it dimmed the distant trees. The birds were quieter than usual. Everything seemed hushed, muted. I had a big day ahead of me, and its components started to clamor in my mind.
Just then I sensed the Lord saying, “I’m right here with you, Lisa, enjoying the morning.” A simple declaration of His presence with me, His desire to be with me. And a subtle reminder to “enjoy” before embracing the responsibilities of the day.
It’s easy to become frustrated in the fray of leadership. But leaders who commune with God have an uncontainable wellspring of joy deep within their souls.
“Leaders who commune with God have an uncontainable wellspring of joy deep within their souls.”- Lisa Hosler
Although you haven’t seen Jesus, you still love Him.
Although you don’t yet see Him, you do believe in Him
and celebrate with a joy that is glorious and beyond words.
1 Peter 1:8 (VOICE)
In the Comment Section below, share about a simple experience of inexpressible joy as you spent time with the Lord.
Good leaders are good shepherds. They genuinely and actively care for the people they lead. They shepherd well because they’re Shepherded well.
If you’ve read my blogs recently, you know God led me out of my “God chair” and into the great outdoors. He’s used the open surroundings to open my spirit to His in a fresh way.
Last week, God added another element to my time outside. On that particular morning, my brain fog was pretty dense. I sensed God saying, “You could exercise out here, Lisa.” (Let me back up and say that in the months prior, exercise got squeezed out of my schedule. It’s never found its way back in. But I’ve wanted it to, and I’ve asked God for help.)
“You could exercise out here, Lisa.” Hmmm… could anyone see me? I glanced to the left—nothing but our warehouse roof. I glanced to the right—no windows on that side of our neighbor’s house. And our back deck faces a soybean field.
I was good to go and did my usual 20-minute routine. Afterwards, I felt more awake, more alert, and had a great time engaging with God and His Word. Every morning since then, I’ve followed my Shepherd’s prompting to exercise, and I’m a third of the way into reinstituting that healthy habit. Best of all, I’m acutely aware of God’s TLC in my life.
Look how intentionally and gently God nurtures us in Isaiah 40:11:
He will feed His fold like a shepherd;
He will gather together His lambs—the weak and the wobbly ones—into His arms.
He will carry them close to His bosom,
and tenderly lead like a shepherd the mother of her lambs.
If this doesn’t characterize your relationship with God, review the steps above and ask God to scoop you up into His arms. It’s what you need, and it’s what your followers need to be true of you. Good leaders shepherd well because they’re Shepherded well.
“Good leaders shepherd well because they’re Shepherded well.”- Lisa Hosler
How is God uniquely caring for you in this season? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.
As leaders, we listen to important words day in and day out. If we’re not careful, though, we can be deaf to the most significant words of all. Let’s learn to tune in.
Creation is constantly pouring forth knowledge about God (Ps. 19:1-2). There’s no lack of words on God’s part; just a lack of hearing on ours.
The other morning, I planned to go outside to be with God. No go. It was pouring rain. I stood in our sunroom looking through the drenched, dreary windows. What a bummer.
I settled into my God chair and turned to Psalm 119—the chapter I’d been reading on vacation. Verses about God’s love drew my attention:
God’s theme for the morning became obvious—His love for me. I got up to check on the rain. This time, I was drawn to a stained-glass piece of artwork, its beauty undiminished by the darkness.
“Like My love for you, Lisa. It’s never dampened by circumstances. It’s always vibrant. You just need eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to receive.”
Even through artwork, God was revealing Himself. He spoke volumes that morning about the “shining sun” of His truth lighting my path, the “ocean” of His love buoying me up, and the “sailboat” of my life, crimson in color, like the blood of Jesus, my Savior and Lord.
Simple, sustaining truths. My sails were filled afresh with His Spirit; positioned to follow His lead for the day.
I had to laugh when I looked up the Hebrew word for “pour” in Psalm 19:2a—“Day after day they pour forth speech.” It means to belch forth, to eagerly utter, to bubble up. The last part of the verse says, “… night after night they reveal knowledge.” “Reveal” in Hebrew means to show or declare. There’s nothing passive about these words. I picture God bursting through nature to provide the most enlightening show-and-tell we could ever experience. As leaders surrounded by voices all day long, let’s tune into the glorious surround-sound of God’s creation revelation.
“As leaders surrounded by voices all day long, let’s tune into the glorious surround-sound of God’s creation revelation.”- Lisa Hosler
How do you focus on God’s voice in the midst of many? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.
We’re familiar with this slogan regarding real estate, but let’s apply it to our spiritual lives. Specifically, the physical location where we regularly spend time with our heavenly Father. In any season—whether literal or figurative—let’s pay attention to where He wants to meet with us.
Our staff recently enjoyed a paid personal day with God (see my blog titled, Paid Retreat Days for Your Staff). At the beginning of the day, I felt led to relocate from my indoor “God chair,” to our back deck. Immediately, I was engulfed by the great outdoors. I could see for miles. I felt the warmth of the sun, the gentle breeze. I heard chirping birds, buzzing insects, whirring cars (which I converted to ocean waves in my mind). There was an occasional butterfly, a large dragonfly, and green all around. And then, God drew my attention to one specific object in our neighbor’s yard. I’ll tell you about that next week.
Psalm 18:19 says, “He brought me out into a broad place.” A broad place—one that is spacious, wide open, full of freedom, and new possibilities. God is faithful to bring us to good places. Let’s be faithful to follow, even in the simplicity of a new place to meet with Him. Leaders who follow God’s promptings—no matter how seemingly insignificant—receive God’s blessings.
“Leaders who follow God’s promptings—no matter how seemingly insignificant—receive God’s blessings.”- Lisa Hosler
How has a new location enhanced your connection with God? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.
God gifts leaders with vision, administrative ability, and people skills. But one of His greatest gifts is the ability to see with spiritual eyes. Let’s learn how to strengthen this ability.
A few years ago, my husband, Ron and I stood on a pier overlooking a shallow body of water. To my surprise, a whole group of bullhead carp swam right up to us. “Oh my word,” I said to Ron. “Can you believe that?!” He said, “What? What do you mean? What are you looking at?” I pointed to the water and said, “Can’t you see them, they’re right there!” He said, “See what? All I see is the water!” Suddenly, I realized I could see into the water because of my sunglasses. I gave them to Ron and his mouth dropped open when he saw the school of carp.
Years ago at the ministry, we needed a speaker to do sexual integrity presentations in public schools. I’d done them for years, but the ministry had grown and I no longer had time. Over a period of weeks, we prayed God would provide a gifted communicator who could take the message to the next level. We spread the word to youth leaders, but no one came forward. We continued praying, and one day over lunch we were discussing our need for a speaker. As I described the type of person we needed, our events assistant threw her arms in the air and said, “That’s me! That’s totally me! I did theater all through college, and I’m passionate about purity. I’d love to do that!” Suddenly our eyes were opened, and we realized she would be perfect for the position. And she was. She’d been there all along, but only through prayer and discussion did God make it clear.
1. Close your eyes and pray. You don’t have to close your eyes, but there’s something about shutting out the earthly realm and tuning into God’s realm that helps us see what He’s seeing. Talk with God about your situation.
2. Ask God for wisdom. God’s wisdom is multifaceted, and His thoughts and ways are greater than ours. Ask with a willingness to lay aside your opinions and perspectives, and reach for His.
3. Look for signposts in the Word. God desires to light the pathway for us, and He’ll often do that with specific Scripture passages and verses.
4. Keep your spiritual antennae up. Nothing spooky here; just pay attention to how the Spirit may be leading through conversations and circumstances during your season of discernment.
5. Discuss what you’re sensing. It’s best to have two or three others joining you in a time of discernment, and to gather periodically for prayer and discussion. God often gives each person a piece of the puzzle and then fits it all together.
God has 20/20 vision, and He wants to share it with us. In Jeremiah 33:3, He says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” As a leader, if you want to sharpen your spiritual vision, call out to Him in prayer, spend time in the Word, and invite others to join you.
“As a leader, if you want to sharpen your spiritual vision, call out to God in prayer, spend time in the Word, and invite others to join you.”- Lisa Hosler
How has God sharpened your spiritual vision? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.