A long time ago, men's hearts were so inclined to evil, that God was sorry He ever created them. In his anger, he decided to destroy his creation and start over again.
Before God rained down the destruction, He came across a man who impressed him. God was so impressed that He decided to alter his plans and save a small remnant of mankind. This man whom he favored was Noah.
Noah was different than his neighbors, family and friends. He and his wife walked a different walk than the rest of the people on the earth. Noah found favor in God's eyes because he did the right thing when no one was watching. He went the extra mile for his neighbors when they were in need. He turned his cheek when kids made fun of him for his righteous stand. Noah spent time with his God, building relationship with his Maker and listening to his Lord.
One day, God told Noah about his plans to destroy the earth and all living creatures on it, but that He would save Noah's immediate family. God told Noah to build a ship so that Noah's family would be saved from the destroying flood that was about to come. The ship would be large enough to fit a pair from each type of animal, so the world could start afresh.
Noah was given the task to build something that no one had any concept of, because of a flood which no one had heard of before was coming produced by rain which no one had seen before. Noah had to think totally outside of the box, to build his box-boat. It was just Noah and his three sons and their wives to help with this monumental task.
The family had to come up with new ways of construction to build this ship, new ways to raise lumber high up into the air, new ways to even get massive amounts of lumber, new ways to assemble the ship, new ways of scaffolding to coat the entire outside with water sealant, new ways to clean, cut and mill the lumber.
All the while, enduring the criticisms of his friends, family and neighbors for 100 years. Noah had to be a man of vision, persevering for those 100 years of building, disregarding the ridicule and laughter, thinking outside of the box, coming to seemingly dead ends in the shipwright business, and then seeking God for the solutions to those problems.
Noah's Ark wasn't magically created. It was built like any other successful business, by a strong, confident and effective leader who knew how to innovate to overcome obstacles with a strong adherence to vision.
Noah was an Innovator.
There once was a man named Joe, who was a dreamer. His greatest mistake was "casting his pearls before swine" (a.k.a. his brothers), as he would tell them his dreams. His brothers hated Joe because his father, Jake, favored him more than them.
Joe's dreams weren't ordinary dreams either. They were constantly about Joe ruling over his brothers. This only compounded their hatred for him. One day, Joe's brother's were far away, tending their dad's livestock. Jake was a wealthy man and wanted to check on the status of his livestock, so he sent Joe to bring back a report.
When Joe was getting close to where his brothers were taking care of the livestock, they recognized Joe from a distance. They had had enough of dreaming-Joe, so they decided to jump him and kill him. When Joe got close, they threw him in a water tank and closed the lid while they decided what exactly they were going to do to him.
Someone came up with the idea to sell Joe to some slave traders and at least make a little money off of him. They took his jacket away from him, splatter some animal's blood on it and show it to their dad, saying that was all they found of Joe.
Joe was sold into a distant country,their dad was heart broken over his favorite son, but at least the brothers were rid of their dreaming brother.
Joe found himself sold to a prosperous man. Because of Joe's upbringing and relationship with God, he was quickly promoted from scrubbing the floors to being in charge of his master's entire estate and business holdings. His master had no worry of anything. Joe positioned himself to be in a place of favor and enjoyed the fruit of that positioning.
There was only one thing that Joe had no responsibility over: his master's wife. She was built and she knew it, using her good looks to get whatever she wanted. However, there was just one thing that she couldn't have- Joe. He knew his position and had worked hard to get there, so he wasn't about to let this hussy move him out of position.
One day, she came on to Joe, flaunting and flirting with him. Normally, the other servants were close by in the house, but this time they weren't. When his master's wife tried to seduce Joe, he ran out as fast as he could, leaving his jacket behind as his master's wife ripped it off of him.
Not one to be outdone, she raised the alarm, claiming Joe had tried to rape her. His master was upset, and had Joe arrested and sent to prison. However, knowing his wife to be manipulative, he had Joe put in the white collar prison, not with the rift-raft, but with the King's political prisoners.
Once again, Joe found himself at the bottom. But, his character soon promoted him to the highest position in the prison. Joe had so much favor, that the warden entrusted him with everything inside the prison. He took care of it all, including the other prisoners. It was Joe's leadership and character that positioned him to a place of honor, even in prison.
One day, the king's wine taster and personal chef were sent to prison. Soon after arriving, they each had a dream that God enabled Joe to interpret. The wine taster's dream had a favorable interpretation, so the chef asked for his dream to be interpreted too. It was not so favorable. Both dreams played out, just how Joe said they would; the wine taster got his job back, and the chef was executed. Joe asked the wine taster to put in a good word with the King so he could get out of prison. Unfortunately, the wine taster forgot.
A few years later, the King had two dreams himself. It was at this moment that the wine taster hit himself on the head and told the King he knew someone who could interpret dreams. So the King sent for Joe.
The King told Joe his dreams and through God's help, Joe interpreted them. They were one in the same dream. The country was going to enter 7 years of extreme prosperity followed by 7 years of extreme economic downturn- absolute financial depression that it had never seen before. Joe recommended to the King to install someone in charge, who would save as much as possible during the 7 years of prosperity in order to make it through the 7 years of depression.
The King was so impressed that he made Joe governor over the entire country. Everyone, except the King himself, was subject to Joe and had to obey his every word. The dreams unfolded, just as Joe had foretold , and so the country and surrounding regions were saved due to Joe's effective leadership. As a bonus, his brothers had come to this country to buy some food because the devastation was so bad. They ended up bowing down in honor to their brother, as they didn't recognize him. Joe's own dreams came true too.
Joe had learned how to position himself for God's favor, how to position himself to receive blessing in the midst of curse and how to position an entire country to prosper and pass through financial devastation.
Joe understood the power of positioning.
The Art of Empowerment
They suddenly realized they had forgotten to plan to feed the attendees at the end of the conference. It wasn't just a few hundred, it was thousands- over 10,000 as a matter of fact. What were they going to do? The organizing committee (actually they were the lead team) were besides themselves, because they didn't want the crowd to go crazy on them. One of the lead team members found a teenager who had brought a fish lunch with some bread.
Thankfully, their leader, Josh, had already thought about what they needed, even before the conference began. He had decided to use this as a training tool. When the lead team came to him, they asked if they should go to the store to buy the attendees lunch? The accountant calculated that it would cost a fortune- almost a year's wage.
Josh was the consummate effective leader. He saw their anxiousness but remained his calm and in control self. He asked them what they had, not what they lacked. They reported that the teenager had offered to share his lunch, but that it would only feed a few people. Josh told his lead team that they needed to feed the crowd. They were stunned. The knew that Josh had a reputation as a miracle worker, and they expected him to do something. Didn't Josh realize the gravity of the situation?
Josh told his lead team to have the people sit down in groups of 50, so that it would be orderly, with rows to walk between. Josh then asked for the lunch box of fish, gave thanks to God for it and separated it into his lead team's hands. He told them to start handing it out to the crowd. The lead team witnessed a miracle in their own hands! The lunch that Josh had given them never seemed to run out. In fact, they ended up with 12 big bags left over at the end!
Josh knew that in order to take his lead team to the next level, he couldn't just "do it" himself. He needed to empower his team to be able to perform themselves. Josh also knew that his time there as CEO was limited and that there was something much bigger for him to do, but he wanted to leave his company in good hands- capable hands in fact. Josh know effective leaders empower their followers, not do things for them.
Josh is an empowerer.
The Moral of the Stories
It's been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.
What God has been impressing on me this year are these three simple yet profound concepts: Innovation, Positioning and Empowering. These three form the basis of effective leadership. What God has also been impressing on me is the extreme lack of effective leadership at all levels: political, business, non-profit and worst of all- His Church. However, it all starts with personal leadership with each one of us. This is not to say that effective leadership doesn't exist. Just that there is a lack of it.
I could go on describing in more detail each of these three aspects of leadership, as I am passionate about success. Success doesn't happen without strong, effective leadership. That's what Broce Family Missions is about: training others to have the same passion for success- developing leaders who successfully advance the Kingdom of God, by being strong effective leaders who truly understand innovation, positioning and empowerment.