For the past four years I have been writing and speaking about the steward leader. I believe it is the most transformational understanding of leadership I have ever encountered. Over the next several weeks I will share with you nine disciplines that mark the life of a steward leader. I hope they inspire and challenge you to greater faithfulness and joy in whatever undertaking God is calling you.
Steward leaders succeed because they are attentive first to who they are and what God is doing in them. There are no ‘traits of a successful steward leader’ to emulate but there are consistent disciplines that position us to be used by God most effectively. Here is the first.
DISCIPLINE #1 – Thirsting for Intimacy with God
Steward leaders thirst for intimacy with God. They understand this intimacy as a precious gift that must be nurtured and stewarded. One of the most striking and remarkable aspects of a steward leader is the simple acknowledgement that it is in our ‘being’ not our ‘doing’ that we experience deeper intimacy with God. Therefore, a fundamental rethinking of the way we value our time is the essential element in attaining to this intimacy.
The first discipline requires that we battle against our culture’s expectation of productivity at all costs and the way we measure success in terms of output alone. The values of the kingdom of God turn everything right side up by holding as highest worth the moments we spend seeking deeper, more personal intimacy with God in Christ. Finding such intimacy requires that we make the time to be quiet in God’s sweet presence. It requires of us a selfless submission that moves us from asking what we must ‘do’ to reach this greater intimacy to considering what we must ‘stop doing’. The great enemy of intimacy with God is often the urgency of doing the work of God! Intimacy is not gained by doing something more, but most often by doing much less.
The highest priority for a steward leader is growing daily in our relationship with Jesus Christ. That requires a thirst for intimacy and places the highest value on the time spent stewarding this gift. What will you do less of today to spend more time experiencing God at a deeper level? Will you see this as the most sacred use of time in your entire day? This is the beginning of the journey of the steward leader.