I am blessed to be sharing about the book Building Below the Waterline by Gordon MacDonald with two of the best bloggers out there – Bill Grandi from Cycleguy’s Spin and Michael Perkins from The Handwritten . We will be sharing each Wednesday our thoughts from 2 chapters, which means you will be able to see how God will l speak to us as individuals and then you if you read all three blogs you will see how God then weaves what we write all together. I pray your are encouraged by the blogs.
Let me say from the outset that this book has really helped me to make some positive changes in my life and ministry. Please if you are a pastor or a leader in a church go out and buy this book and read it cover to cover. My honest evaluation is that this book should be required seminary reading because it will help those coming into fulltime Christian service.
The book is broken into two parts – Part one: The Inner Life of a Leader and Part two:The Outer life of a leader. Each part has sections, they are not marked as chapters, and some are short like two pages and others a little long and might be ten pages. I will for lack of a better word use the word chapter for these sections. Now let me get into the book.
Both Chapters today are great reading but let me start this series here by talking about Finding Your Center.
Leadership is no easy task in life and I think that the pressures of leading in ministry are magnified even more. This brings into question what does a Christian leader look like? Well, MacDonald writes about the Four Traits of a Christian Leader and these four come after he shares that the Lord’s anointing is the starting point. The four traits he shares are: a leader to communicate vision, a Christian Leader is sensitive to people, a leader must posses the ability to asses situations, and a keen self-knowledge. It is in that last trait that MacDonald develops some really good thoughts about finding your center.
MacDonald writes “If we don’t know ourselves and what shaped us, neutralizes us, and what our limits are, we invite disaster. May men and women in leadership positions are insecure. Some struggle with large unresolved areas from the past. Unless the past can be resolved, it often becomes the Achilles’ heel in leadership” (Page 7)
He continue a little further down the page, “ The resolution to know oneself begins through daily self-examination against God’s righteousness and the discovery of sinful motives. Second it’s going back in your past to ask: What has formed me? What am I looking at in life? What didn’t I get that I needed.” (Emphasis his – page 7)
From this he then goes into the value of a mentor in helping to deal with this because they will ask the tough questions which is a strong idea and extremely beneficial in my view but it is hard to come by a mentor like that in life.
He writes about leaders and a mentor, “Many leaders operate at a level where they can go for a long time without anybody calling them to account, and as a result, they get so busy helping other people that their perceptions drift. A mentor comes along, asks the hard questions, makes the stiff confrontation, and the leader suddenly realizes. How could I not have see this? (Emphasis his – Page 8 )
He ends the chapter talking about Your Spiritual Center. He talks about how we can not make it as spiritual leaders living off our charisma but we need “to pray, study Scripture, and read heavy doses of classical spiritual literature (page 9).” He also writes that most leaders are not willing to carve out time in their day to maintain their spiritual center.
Let me ask you several questions: Who has helped shape you to be the man or woman you are spiritually and what did they do to help you? Have you ever thought about being or considered yourself a mentor? Do you practice spiritual reflection? How do you do it? How much time do you take to work on your spiritual center each day? What do you think of the quotes here by MacDonald? Is he on track?