Have you ever wondered why some leaders see incredible growth and others seem to struggle? I think back to leaders that I have worked with who have all had great potential. Some have gone from strength to strength and others just didn’t make it. Having pondered this question for some time, the Lord gave me an insight. Put the right gifts together and the ministry will work. Leave out certain gifts and the work will falter. Assess yourself and your team as you read on.
Four Leadership Gifts or Anointings
- Visionary or Apostolic Leader: King David was a visionary leader on a national scale. Even as a teenager, he dreamed big and took risks as he fought Goliath. He went on to become king of Judah and then brought unity to the 12 tribes as he took on the role of king of Israel. He brought worship back to the people of God as he established “David’s tabernacle” and established Jerusalem as the city of David and the capital of Israel.
The visionary leader sees the big picture, has a sense of where the group, church or organization needs to go, and pursues that vision with energy and passion. These leaders live in the future and love to dream. They can see the target and paint a picture for others to catch the vision. A mission like YWAM lives and breathes on apostolic vision. We live in a boom or bust culture. Where we have the right apostolic leadership we boom and if they are not present, we bust after a time.
It’s not quite that simple, as the apostolic leader needs the partnership of the other types of leadership. However this gift is very key and without it we can hardly get going, or if having been established by the visionary and they then leave, we won’t stay on the cutting edge!
- Networking Leader: Jesus identified Peter as a “fisher of men.” He was an extrovert, very personable and full of enthusiasm. He was a born networker and gifted in connecting people to a community or a vision. Throughout the Book of Acts, Peter reaches out to new churches starting up in different towns and among different ethnic groups and connects them with the growing early church.
One leader I have worked with over the years is known and loved throughout his nation. He is connected in all the denominations and organizations and is able to create partnerships and work across the body of Christ because of all his current relationships. It’s a gift and comes easily to him. Being so relational however often means that these leaders aren’t so great at focusing on building the organization itself and really need the other gifts to staff their weakness.
- Mobilizing Leader: Nehemiah was working as a cup bearer in Babylon and on hearing the news of the bad state of affairs in Jerusalem he wants to do something. He shares with the king, asks for resources and recruits a whole group to travel with him. On arrival he grasps an understanding of the task at hand and recruits all the families to work together to see the walls and gates rebuilt.
Have you ever been to a meeting that has been so inspiring and motivating that you have left with the sense, “I have to do something?” Whenever I have heard Loren Cunningham speak over the years, I can’t necessarily remember what he has said, but I have a fresh impetus to “Go” or get involved. Often leaders with this kind of heart speak in churches and work among students and are able to connect and encourage them to join staff and commit to a team somewhere in the world.
- Building Leader: Solomon inherits a united nation of the 12 tribes from his father David. His job is to be a builder – develop the nation, establish the temple and bring Israel into their full potential as the people of God. He certainly does well in developing the whole infrastructure of the nation but not so well in the spiritual establishment.
Whenever you see a ministry begin to grow, diversify and multiply with a staff that is committed and happy you know you have a leader who is able to build. These leaders narrow their focus within the organization rather than spreading themselves more broadly. A leader who builds, takes the individual bricks in the community and connects them and shapes them in order to function effectively together.
Having read about the four leadership anointings, you may recognize yourself in several of them. You may find that you have one main strength and dabble in the three other areas. As leaders, we do need to have an aptitude for all four but will feel more at ease and comfortable in one or two. Generally you function in your main gift without having to think about it. To function in the other areas of gifting you may have to be more intentional which will take energy and focus. Obviously the ideal situation is where you have a team with members having strengths in different anointings.
Specific Giftings Relate With Specific Outcomes
- Visionary Leader Outcome: Growth of ministries and fruitfulness in their sphere of influence with clear goals for the future. The visionary leader wants to create something new or bring something to birth and then see it grow, develop and diversify. If there is no action, no thoughts for the future, nothing new to be excited about, the visionary loses heart and is bored.
- Networking Leader Outcome: Connecting with or establishing partnerships within their own organization, other organizations, or members of the body of Christ. This leader tends to be very relational and spends time with a wide variety of people. Their goal is to make connections. They may not know what will come of them but their motto is “get the right people together and something good will happen.” I remember one leader that I worked with always had incredible stories of people they had just met or knew just the right person to connect with to help in every situation.
- Mobilizing Leader Outcomes: Motivating, recruiting, training and sending out. The mobilizer usually has a clear project in view and so goes to work in communicating and stirring people up to be motivated to get involved. They put courage and belief into people, recruit them to action and get them committed. These leaders are the cheerleaders that keep people motivated and moving towards a future vision.
- Building Leader Outcomes: Vibrant communities functioning effectively in teams with multi-faceted ministries. Builders think application. They ask, “What do we need to do to make this vision a reality and implement it into the community?” They work tirelessly to integrate, structure, link, join, and build the kingdom so there is something solid and lasting. They want to leave an inheritance.
Basic Strategies Leaders Can Implement
In order to see these outcomes fulfilled, here are some basic strategies within a YWAM context. Part of our DNA involves four basic strategies related with the four anointings – pioneering ministry (doing new things in new ways), serving churches, providing short-term opportunities and training staff and leaders. This is where we start and so if we are missing any of these elements the ministry will struggle.
- Visionary Strategies: Pioneer ministry. The questions the visionary asks include: What is God saying? What are the felt needs of the nation, city, or neighborhood? Who is no one caring for? Who are unreached? What spheres of society do we reach into? Where do we start in evangelism? What would make an impact?
- Networking Strategies: Serve churches, organizations and the community. The questions the networker asks include: What are ways of building relationships with others? What do we have to give to the church, in terms of enthusiastic youth, resources of teaching and inspiration, help and support in their projects and vision? What circles of relationship do I need to get involved in?
- Mobilizing Strategies: Short-term events. The questions the mobilizer asks include: What kind of outreaches will be motivating for what audience? How do we communicate in order to engage with people? What kind of events should we put on in order to attract attention? What are the clear opportunities to put in front of people?
- Building Strategies: Train and develop staff and leaders for ministry. The questions the builder asks include: How do we create vibrant community life? What kind of leadership structure is necessary? What systems and organization will be needed? What kind of discipleship (DTS) is needed? What other training is necessary in order to multiply the ministry?
Pause and Reflect:
Take some time to prayerfully consider these four anointings/giftings –
My strength of anointing in order:
The strength of my team members:
- How do you rank yourself in these categories?
- Then, how do you rank key members of your team?
- In what ways can you facilitate their input within the framework of your organization in order to build a strategy toward the most fruitful and effective outcomes?
- What can be done to encourage your team not to neglect the gifts that are in them (1 Tim. 4:14), and to fully work out the essence of their ministries (2 Tim. 4:5)?