If you’re looking for an easy journey, don’t venture onto the road of Christian leadership. It’s uphill, full of potholes, detours, and glimpses of spectacular, fruit-filled vistas. How do we maintain an “onward and upward” mentality?

Recently a colleague and I were commiserating about the day-to-day challenges of leadership. Projects take way longer than you think they will, Murphy’s Law abounds, and there’s routinely too much to do. I said to her, “Is nothing easy?!” We jested that the only thing that’s actually easy is eating ice cream!

7 Keys to an Onward & Upward Mentality

Paul reveals these keys in Philippians 3:1-16. It’s worth the read when you have a few minutes.

1) Rejoice in the Lord. No matter how steep the climb, pause to focus on Jesus. He was well-acquainted with the rough terrain of this world, as the Man of Sorrows. And He was well-acquainted with His Father, who gave Him the “oil of gladness” more than anyone else. Yes, leadership is hard. And yes, there’s plenty to rejoice in, as Christ-followers.

2) Glory in Christ. Put no confidence in the initials behind your name, the length of your resume, or the caliber of your giftings. Put all confidence in who Christ is, and how He receives glory through your laid-down life.    

3) Know Christ. I love Paul’s description of knowing Christ. He refers to it as having “surpassing worth”—being indescribably valuable. Your current, intimate relationship with Jesus is the greatest key to a fruitful leadership journey.

4) Know the power of Christ. When we encounter weaknesses in our leadership, God is strong—providing for us the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Admit your weakness and step out in God’s strength. 

5) Share in Christ’s sufferings. Jesus received lots of pushback in His earthly ministry—from people, from the pace of ministry, and from the price of obeying His Father. We receive pushback as leaders, but obeying our Father is always worth it.

6) Press on. Paul “lays hold of” his relationship with Christ, just as Christ laid hold of him. When you face a particularly difficult stretch of the road, think of the love and power Jesus exerted to claim you as His own.

7) Hold true. The world, the flesh, and the enemy lay out all sorts of traps to impede our progress as leaders. Impatience. Pride. Discouragement. Pay attention to your thoughts, remind yourself of God’s truth, and cling to Him.

When leadership is hard, remember Christ. He gets it. He’s your model, your mentor, and your identity. Your greatest asset as a Christian leader is the first part of that phrase, “Christian.” Therefore, your most important leadership responsibility is to excel as a Christ-follower. And along the way, take time to enjoy some ice cream!

“Your greatest asset as a Christian leader is being a Christian. Therefore, your most important leadership responsibility is to excel at being a Christ-follower.”

- Lisa Hosler

How does God encourage you when your leadership road gets bumpy? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

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