Grip-Grasp-Gifts:  Keys to Life-Changing Leadership

I wrote this article several years ago when I was pastoring a church plant in NV that was a miracle experience:

Lasting life change is what spiritual leadership is all about.  Pastors and Christian business people often want to be involved in life change and yet feel frustrated at knowing how to establish a church ministry climate where leadership and evangelism passion can flourish.  These last seven years, I’ve had the privilege to lead such a place, and I think that God has taught us some key principles and practical questions to help develop my own leadership in these matters.  After publishing Pastorpreneur (available at www.pastorpreneur.com, online at Amazon or other retailers, or through your local Christian bookstore), many pastors and Christian business people alike have asked me, “What does it take to think like a Pastorpreneur?”  Here are the 3 steps necessary to think like a Pastorpreneur…..

  1. Grip God’s calling on your life.  This is a key step where you drill down deep and ask the fundamental life question (which I think you ask at MANY times in your life), “God…what did you make me to do?  What is the purpose of my life and how should I use my life to bring glory to you?”.
  2. Grasp the needs of your community.  This is really the “missionary” question.  Robert Schuller says “Find a need and meet it, find a hurt and heal it….if you do, you will never lack opportunity to impact people’s lives for God”.  What are the needs and opportunities for impact that exist in your community?  How can you reach people for the glory of God?
  3. Mobilize the Gifts of your team.  This is the team leadership question.  What are the resources you have to meet the needs of the community?  What creative strategies can you unleash to pull from your team their highest and best for the sake of impacting others for God?

If you are a Pastor, this thinking process should be bathed in prayer, shared with key leaders and become a fundamental part of your heart preparation for Pastorpreneur ministry.  If you are a Business leader, the process is much the same and will form the template for your strategic plan to leverage your business acumen into a Kingdom tool that God can use for His glory!

Let’s unpack each of those 3 principles and practices:

Grip God’s Calling on Your Life

This is the most important step in the process God’s Calling on Your Life”.  Gripping God’s call on your life is equally important as a business person and as a pastor.  Here are some essential thoughts to help grip God’s calling on your life…

1) Following God’s promise means you are partnering with the God of the universe to fulfill HIS purposes.  As Rick Warren says in the first line of Purpose Driven Life, “It is not about you”.  Gripping God’s calling means you start by recognizing that you are submitting your life to the care and calling of the creator of the universe!

2) Author Os Guinness says that the calling of God is not just for pastors. “Calling,” wrote Guinness, “is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.” (Os Guinness, The Call, (Word Publishing, Nashville, 1998, p. 4.).  Business Leaders and Pastors alike are called by God for Kingdom work!

3) Responding to God’s calling is an antidote to constantly trying to “prove yourself”.  Calling anchors your soul in God’s calling will be specific to His character, the passions He implanted in your soul, and the context of your local community

Once God’s calling is clear in your mind and heart you will then be able to pursue the gifts that He has specifically entrusted to you and your team to accomplish His purposes n your local context! Grip His calling on your life and you will become gripped by it!

Grasp the Needs of Your Community

After you have Gripped God’s calling on your life, the next step to thinking like a PastorPreneur is to “Grasp the Needs of Your Community”.  Since Jesus called us to “Love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves” (Matthew 22:39), and He told us that our neighbors are those in need, how should we then live?  

Here are some exciting challenges to help develop your Grasp on the Needs of your Community:

  • Robert Schuller says “find a need and fill it, find a hurt and heal it…and you’ll never lack for ministry opportunity”.  He’s right.  I’ve not found a community yet, in over 25 years of pastoral, denominational, and church planting ministry that was closed to a church that reached OUT to help people
  • Bill Hybels says that it is a tragedy that the average McDonalds owner knows more about our communities than do the Pastors….and all they want to do is sell a burger and fries.  He’s right and I’m convicted about it every time I think about it.
  • You can go to “Anytown USA” and attend Chamber of Commerce meetings, community forums, school gatherings and ask 3 simple questions:  1)  What do you think is the greatest need in our community?,  2) If you were to go to a church, what would you suggest that church focus on in order to meet the needs in our community?, 3) What one factor might make you consider attending church?  When we did this in our community seven years ago, we got HUGE attention from people who were shocked that we were even asking those questions.
  • According to George Barna, about 2/3 of the unchurched people in the United States call themselves Christians!  But, when drilling deeper, their worldview is not at all consistent with Scripture.  How can you reach your community and understand what they believe?
  • Meeting needs in the name of Christ opens the door to community impact.  Christian business leaders and entrepreneurial pastors can transform a community with the power of God through need-meeting and innovative impact strategies.

When we see the needs of the people in our community, our heart should break.  Not just because of the needs, but the reality that so many are seeking to have those needs met outside a relationship with Christ.  We in the church know that the only complete answer to the questions of life is a vital union with Jesus Christ.  PastorPreneurs learn to think like Christ by seeing the needs of people as an opportunity to extend love and grace and open doors to conversation with neighbors who don’t yet know God in a personal way.

Mobilize the Gifts of Your Team

Pastorpreneurs constantly are looking to mobilize, leverage, and maximize the gifts of God’s people for Kingdom Impact.  Christian Business Leaders and Entrepreneurial Pastors alike are aware that God’s calling and their Community’s needs require that the gifts that God has entrusted to the community of faith be identified and utilized for Kingdom Impact.  Many pastorpreneurs learn to think “outside the box” when they recognize the unique gifts that God has given to them.

In our own local community, the expressed needs of people relate to wholesome activities for children/youth and a way to connect faith and recreation together.  Though our church has only been around for 6 years, we are seeing the start of some exciting things:

  • A martial arts program where 50% of the participants don’t attend our church; the ministry leader has wanted to launch such a program for 10 years but couldn’t find the right setting
  • A dance ministry led by a woman who has had her life transformed by God’s grace and now uses her skills to the glory of God
  • A sports ministry led by a former pro football player that is just now starting to see tremendous synergy in our local community by connecting children/youth and families in positive recreational environments
  • A recovery ministry that has become an “Umbrella of Safety” for people in our community
  • A marketing ministry that creatively communicates the life changing message of God’s love using contemporary media

These are just 5 of the more than 30 ministries that exist in our seven year old church.  NONE of these ministries would or perhaps even should exist in our church EXCEPT that God entrusted specific gifts to His people and they want in the game!  One of the greatest joys of a PastorPreneur is to identify your gifts, help others identify their gifts, and then mobilize and release people for Kingdom Impact!  How many spiritual gifts are laying around unopened in your life or in the lives of those you lead?

Your life was made to make a difference.  God wants your leadership to facilitate lasting life change for His kingdom glory.  Think different, behave different, and watch the God of heaven and earth use you for His purposes here on earth!

Published by drjohnjackson

President of Jessup University (www.jessup.edu), speaker and author of books on leadership and transformation

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