6 Practices for Christian Leaders in Business / Ministry to Go the Distance (Part 1)

And…what does PepsiCo’s CEO, Indra Nooyi, have to do with it? Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to go the distance as a Christian leader in business or ministry?

photo credit: kyleboy668

Me too, that’s why Indra Nooyi’s recent LinkedIn in article What I’ve learned from a decade of being PepsiCo’s CEO caught my eye.

I found it as refreshing as drinking a Pepsi with popcorn! No lie. My soda of choice (or “pop” if you’re one of those weird people who call it that) is caffeine free Pepsi.

Her post seemed to come from a place of genuine transparency, simply sharing from her heart and experience some of the key factors that have helped her go the distance for a decade.

The Sad State of Tenure in Leadership

A decade may not seem like much, but according to one Fortune leadership article, it is more than double the average tenure of CEOs of 500 of the largest companies in the U.S.

Amongst Pastors the stats are even worse, with one Lifeway research project citing that the average tenure for Pastors serving in the same church is only 3.6 years. There’s something wrong with that picture!

God’s Word Just Works!

Nooyi’s use of scripture in the first principle she shared about vision was also extremely refreshing.

Now, I don’t know if she claims to be a follower of Christ or not, but can you imagine how many more people could be drawn to consider who God is and see the power of His person and Word if more influential leaders were vocal about their relationship with Christ — letting Scripture permeate everything they think and do?

Christ is the only hope for the incredible challenges and crises we are facing in our world. Christian leaders in business / ministry must be intentional about pointing others to Christ and the fact that God’s Word just works in every setting of our culture – including business.

That being said, I was inspired in this post (part 1 of 2) to adapt the principles mentioned in Nooyi’s post, (which continue to help me go the distance in my leadership calling) but to include even more scripture, because God’s Word just works! I hope God will use it to encourage and challenge you.

1) The Power of vision

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” ~ Proverbs 29:18.

A sense of meaning and purpose can quickly be lost in our daily work without having a vision of what could be or should be.

There have been times since taking the helm of Kingdom Way Ministries that I have been overwhelmed and discouraged, bogged down by details or seemingly unsurmountable obstacles.

In these seasons, God has graciously readjusted my focus and reminded me of the vision He gave me from the start – that of Christian leaders from all walks of life, in businesses, churches, schools and non-profits, sold out for Christ, leveraging the full scope of their influence for the sake of the gospel.

That’s a vision that keeps me going. That’s worth getting out of bed in the morning!

What is the vision God has given you that keeps your heart racing – urging you to push through obstacles in times of discouragement?

2) Live T.E.R.N.

Live The Eternal Reality Now.” In our existential culture so many decisions are made with no thought of how they affect tomorrow. Today is all that matters.

1 Corinthians 3 reminds us that all of our words, actions, and choices will be tested before Christ to measure their eternal worth.

13 “…his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”

One of the most difficult decisions my wife and I have ever made was deciding to take on the challenge of me serving as the new President/CEO of Kingdom Way Ministries.

To do so meant leaving all we had known, moving our family to Colorado, not knowing how we were going to support our needs financially, and not having a clear picture of any kind of strategy or direction.

From a human vantage point, it was foolish. But, one of the factors that gave us the courage to follow through was wanting to get to the end our lives facing our awesome and wonderful Savior, knowing we followed His calling without shrinking back (Isaiah 50:4-5).

Is there a decision you’re struggling with or a calling you are shrinking back from? Choose your course by living T.E.R.N.

3) Ensure cultural change sticks

Cultural change calls for others who will catch the vision, live the vision, and replicate the vision. To do so language matters. People want simple concepts that are memorable and repeatable (and of course tweetable!).

Jesus was a Master at this:

  • “I will make you fishers of men!”
  • “Love your neighbor as yourself”
  • “Now that I your Lord and Master have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”

Such phrases embodied the world-wide cultural revolution Christ came to bring. These were cornerstone concepts that resonated with his followers and were replicated through their ministries.

“Making work and ministry one” is one of those phrases for KWM. It encompasses the idea that there is no sacred / secular division of our lives. Christ intends that our Monday faith be lived out just as intensely and passionately as our Sunday faith. When those we are privileged to serve get that, not only are lives impacted, cultural change happens – and sticks!

What are some repeatable concepts you use (or could use) to help others embody the cultural shifts you long to see in your sphere of influence?

Continue the Conversation:  

  • What is a principle driven by Scripture that is helping your leadership go the distance?

You can leave your comment and/or share your responses to this Tipping Point via the social share tabs below.

Dan Anderson, President/CEO of KWM

Chuck Colson once said, “Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not just individuals.” 

I hope you were challenged by this post and found a Tipping Point to help you be a culture changing agent for Christ in your family, business, church, and community. If so, we would love to hear from you!

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