I meet a lot of young people all the time. And, one of the qualities I find is that many of them have lots of vision and lots of great ideas. That’s a really good thing. I love to meet and build relationships with other young leaders who have big vision, dreams and cool ideas for the future. In my opinion, that’s the way it should be in any student ministry or college campus.
But, here’s something I’ve been finding and maybe you’ve been identifying with when working with young leaders (I’m including myself in this as I ask this question.)
Young leaders may have lots of vision and cool ideas, but do they have any resilient vision?
After I finished college from a well-known Christian university, this question became clear to me. Having a vision, dream or a cool idea doesn’t entitle you to lead it, just because you had a vision, dream or cool idea. Because first of all, it’s not your vision, it’s God’s and you serve Him to bring His will to earth.
I’m reminded of the story of David in the Bible. (Read 1 Samuel 16-17). And we all know the story, when David received his purpose and vision for his life when Samuel anointed him to be King. David was looked upon as the youngest and irrelevant kid in the household or in other words as someone of very little importance. Let’s break down the line of events between the time David discovered his vision and when he stepped into it. And, through this process let’s try to identify the key denominators the kept David moving forward.
- David serving in his Fathers House (1 Sam 16:11)
- David discovers his vision and anointed to be King (1 Sam 16:12-13)
- David served Saul by ministering to him (1 Sam 16:23)
- David served his brothers by bringing food to them (1 Sam 17:17-18)
- David solved a problem for his leader, Saul – David killed Goliath (1 Sam 17: 45-51)
- David’s popularity and national influence grew throughout all over Israel (1 Sam 18: 6-7)
- Saul resented David for helping him solve his problem (1 Sam 18:8)
- David kept serving his leader with music (1 Sam 18:10)
- Saul tries to kill David (1 Sam 19)
- David spares Saul’s life (1 Sam 24:3-4, 9-10)
- David spares Saul’s life a second time (1 Sam 26: 5-11)
- David becomes King over Israel (2 Sam 5 1-4)
Now, these are a lot of events in David’s life. But, let me pull out a three tests that David experienced through this time line.
1.The Serving Test – Look and see how many times David served throughout his life. It was before he discovered his vision and after. It was before he killed the giant and become a national influencer and after. And, he kept on serving Saul before he started to resent him and afterwards.
Vision doesn’t carry any weight or resilience just because you say that you have one. You must have a heart that doesn’t mind to serve quietly and humbly in someone else’s vision. If you can’t, then your vision and cool ideas will hold no weight or substance to them. The first thing every leader is called to be is a servant-leader. This is the foundation on where your vision will stand.
2.The Problem Solving Test – God has put us on this earth to take dominion in it. And, I believe part of that process is helping others solve problems, come up with solutions, eliminate giants and obstacles that stand in the way of a fellow leader or one that is in authority – pastor, employer, etc… In this situation David became the solution for Saul and all of Israel’s biggest problems – Goliath and the Philistine armies.
Sometimes, I see a whole lot of young leaders with a whole lot of vision and passion, but not a whole lot of credibility. Why? Because, they haven’t done anything yet. Until, you can help solve someone else problems and eliminate someone else obstacles – your leadership and vision will have no credibility. The best way to contribute value and build credibility around your vision and leadership is by humbly, creatively and sometimes boldly and aggressively become the solution to someone else’s headache.
3. The Persecution Test – It’s amazing to me that after you’ve established yourself as a servant-leader and then as a problem solver that can get things done, this one always comes up next. It’s bound to happen, so just get ready for it and get used to it. It’s part of the journey. This has been proven throughout history and is happening right now among people in the Body of Christ.
People at all different levels of influence will come against and be insecure around you after you have established a trend through your personal leadership that can get things done. In my personal life, I’ve had pastors and church leaders gossip behind my back and try to slander my reputation, even after serving faithfully in their organizations. I’ve had friends turn away from me because I had to make tough, unpopular decisions. Was it hard? Yes! Did it hurt? Painfully! But, guess what, I’m still here, alive, laughing and smiling – because of what Jesus did through all of it!
The fact is the persecution test is going to happen to every leader. And, it will happen from those that are the closest to you — a friend, a family member, a church leader, etc…Going through this builds even more resilience inside your vision. When other people tried to reshape my identity, change who I was and persecute my vision, God was using it to build even greater identity, endurance, and purpose inside of my vision. When Saul started to resent and then later try to kill David – God was testing David’s heart and was building inside of his vision, resilient leadership.
These three tests will come over and over again throughout your journey. And, when they do, just remember, God is doing several things in your life:
- Creating a servants heart in you: The Serving Test
- Establishing credibility around you: The Problem- Solving Test
- Building endurance and resilience within you: The Persecution Test