You are about to embark on a life-changing journey. I say this with confidence because when we open ourselves up to the work of the Holy Spirit, we never remain unchanged. My prayer is that over the next fifty days you experience the freedom and joy of the steward leader. Like that of any of life’s great ventures, the success of this journey has much to do with the quality of your preparation. I tell you here at the start that this journey requires commitment, contrition, and courage.
Plan now to commit these next fifty days to the Lord. You will think through a number of fundamental questions about your Christian life, pray, read a daily meditation, and complete your own personal Steward Leader Life Plan. All of this requires a commitment of your time and openness to let the Holy Spirit work in you and through you.
This process requires contrition, meaning that at every significant step there will be an opportunity to name those things that keep you in bondage and restrict you from experiencing the life God created you to live. With a repentant heart that truly seeks to change and start a journey in a new direction, you will see these chains fall.
Finally, this process, just like leadership, requires courage. It is likely that you have lived with your bondage for so long that the locks holding the chains in place have rusted. It will take courage to break them open. That means asking hard questions of yourself, being honest with the forces in your life that keep you enslaved, and committing to new habits and disciplines that will help you enjoy your newfound freedom for the rest of your life.
Make a decision here at the beginning to commit yourself to this process, embrace repentance as a step in healing, and ask the Holy Spirit for the courage to do the hard work of opening locks and shedding chains. Be ready to discover new habits and disciplines that will keep you free for life. If you make that decision now, I am confident God will lead you on an incredible journey over the next fifty days, a journey to freedom!
There are two goals that I set before you as you embark. The first goal is that you personally know the freedom and joy of a steward of God who has been set free to live for him. The key word in this goal is “freedom.” This is a twofold freedom. It is a freedom from all of the chains that you put on yourself. No one else puts these chains on you—you wrap them around yourself and secure them tightly every time you believe the enemy. By naming these lies, claiming the victory you have in Jesus Christ, and being willing to change your attitudes and habits, you will feel the freedom of these chains falling from your shoulders.
There is also a freedom for the work God created you to do. This is your opportunity to engage in the calling and vocation that God prepared for you before he knit you together in your mother’s womb. That’s a pretty incredible thought. Your freedom is not only a looking behind to the chains that have fallen but it is a looking ahead to the new life you can now live as a person set free by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This new life includes the opportunity to be used by God to set other people free. That is the calling of the steward leader and the second goal for this journey. God not only sets you free but He has placed you in a position of leadership so that through you others may find this newfound freedom for themselves. You have the opportunity to be used by God to help break the chains in the lives of everyone you lead and serve.
May these be your two goals as you begin this journey: your own freedom from the old chains that bound you and for the new life ahead as a child of God set free and the opportunity to bear witness to that freedom and be used by God to touch the lives of everyone around you.
Format and Process
This fifty-day journey comprises five components. They were designed to build on each other and interact in a way that allows the primary themes of this journey to be experienced in different ways and forms. Some travelers through this process will be most touched by the book, others by the videos, and still others by the meditations or questions. My prayer is that by using a combination of communication tools, the Holy Spirit will use one or more to touch your heart in a manner that is perfectly suited to you.
Here are the five main components for this journey.
1. Becoming a Steward Leader Journey Guidebook. This is your primary guide through the journey. Eight maps guide your way offering information about the next leg of the journey. These maps include:
a. Guidance on which Set Free to Lead DVD session to watch
b. A key scriptural text
c. An image that helps represent the key concept for the week
d. The main theme for the week
e. A set of questions for your personal reflections
f. Instructions on completing the Steward of Life Plan for the week
g. A closing prayer
2. The Steward Leader. This book is the core teaching tool for your process of Becoming a Steward Leader. You will be guided on which chapters to read as you work through the course.
3. Set Free to Lead. This DVD contains seven sessions, one for each of the seven keys that are the foundation for this journey. One session should be watched each week, as instructed in your Journey Guidebook.
4. Fifty meditations. In your Journey Guidebook, you will find a meditation for each of the fifty days. These are written to encourage and guide you in going deeper into the theme for each week. Reading these meditations each day and carrying out the action steps that are offered will allow you to gain the greatest benefit from the journey. I pray they are a blessing to you.
5. Steward Leader Life Plan. The final and perhaps most important component is your own personal Steward of Life Plan. This plan has seven elements, and there is an opportunity for you to make a specific commitment to a new habit or discipline in each of these areas. Remember, this is not only a freedom from the old life of bondage—it is a freedom for the new life Christ has for you. And these new disciplines will be your roadmap to becoming a steward leader. At the end of the journey, you will have the opportunity to share these disciplines with the people close to you. This will be an important time of commitment to this new life, and it will help build a spirit of accountability once you’ve been set free, you will not be enslaved again.
There are two steps I want you to take as you prepare to begin:
1. Find a jar with a lid and fill it with dirt. You’ll understand why very soon.
2. Prepare for this study by spending focused time in prayer. Here are five things to pray for as you prepare to embark on this specific journey.
a. Openness of your spirit to hear God speak to you over these next fifty days
b. Willingness of your heart to be open to contrition
c. Commitment of time, focus, and energy to this journey
d. Courage to let the Holy Spirit work in you
e. Heart of freedom and joy for the work that God will do through you as a result of this journey
I am convinced that God called us to bold, exciting, and courageous leadership in a dark and broken world. I believe the greatest key to this kind of leadership is the freedom that is offered to us in Jesus Christ. I know that we are all in bondage, and I know that Jesus holds the key to every chain. Are you ready to accept from him these keys, one by one? Are you ready to see the locks opened, the chains fall, and a newfound freedom enter into your spirit? Are you ready to be changed? And are you ready to be used by God to lead in a bold new way and change the world around you? Then welcome to the journey!