Leaders want to be known for something great. To leave a lasting mark on their organization. To exercise their giftings in transformative ways. Let’s look at God’s pathway to distinction.

Thirteen years into my personal quest for leadership distinction, I’d demonstrated vision, good communication skills, and the ability to rally people for effective ministry.

But when a spiritual advisor spoke about the importance of God being on the “throne” of every ministry, I winced. I was familiar with God being on the throne of my personal life, but I hadn’t translated that into the culture of my ministry.

When the advisor prayed for me and noted the professionalism and excellence that my ministry was known for, I felt hollow inside. Did I want to go to my grave having run a ministry with professionalism and excellence?! There are worse things to be known for, but I was to discover there are better things too. Or I should say, a better Person.

The advisor went on to pray about corporate intimacy with God, resting in Christ while working, and cultivating the presence of the Lord.

Hmmm… these were unfamiliar phrases to me.

But twenty years later, I’m experiencing the indescribable treasure of God’s presence at our ministry as we actively honor Him, foster a close relationship with Him and each other, and discern His wisdom together.

Let’s learn from Moses’ leadership.

3 Ways to Become a Distinctive Leader

1. Know God intimately. Moses pitched the Tent of Meeting far off from the camp and sought the Lord there frequently. “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11). Make it your highest priority as a leader to know and be known by the Lord, to interact with Him deeply, and to glean from His Word—both privately and publicly as a natural part of your leadership.  

2. Cultivate God’s presence. Moses was wise enough to know that he and the nation of Israel had no chance of surviving—much less thriving—in the Promised Land apart from God’s presence. He said to the Lord, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here” (Ex. 33:15). Set aside time to honor the Lord. Worship Him through music—at your desk and with others. Read Scripture together and reflect on God’s amazing qualities. Share with each other how He’s working in your lives and ministry. Make much of God, and His presence will permeate your ministry.

3. Learn the rhythms of God’s rest. When Moses pleaded with God to go with him, God responded, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Ex. 33:14). God’s presence and His rest go hand-in-hand. When you’re not feeling at rest, at peace—chances are you’re not actively connecting with God. As you do, you’ll keep pace with God—running when He moves quickly, pausing when He says “wait,” and all the while having the assurance that He’s with you.

This section of Scripture culminates with Moses saying to God, “For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct…?” (Ex. 33:16).

Did you catch that last word? The key to distinction as a leader is the literal presence of God. If you want to be a distinctive leader, lead your team to engage with God corporately so your ministry is known for and characterized by His presence. This is the best contribution you’ll ever make to your organization.

“If you want to be a distinctive leader, lead your team to engage with God corporately so your ministry is known for and characterized by His presence.”

- Lisa Hosler

In what ways do you cultivate God’s presence through your leadership? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

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