Friday, August 11, 2017

2017 Willow Creek GLS -- Sam Adeyemi -- Leading from the Inside Out

(Here at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit to get some tip for Operation Christmas Child)

Sam Adeyemi – Leading from the Inside Out—Daystar Christian Centre in Nigeria
--70% of the country lives below the poverty line

I am honored to be back at the GLS.  Our church started like many other churches start with very few resources in a restaurant.  We had to change venues within a few months because we didn’t have money to pay.  We attracted people who needed financial help and I thought, “I think I have the wrong people here.”  Many questions go through the mind when things are not going according to your plan.  Then I realized you don’t attract who you want in leadership; you attract who you are.

The leadership dynamic works when there is alignment between the sense of identity of the leaders and that of the followers.  Social scientists says when people say the leader is charismatic it’s more because the leader is a prototype of that group. 

A few years ago I sat on an airplane with one of Nigeria’s greatest leaders.  I asked him how the church in Nigeria could be more effective in influencing national development.  He asked me, “If a group of robbers had the chance to elect a leader, would they elect a policeman?”  I realized they would elect a more experienced robber.

For the leadership dynamic to work, then, either the robber becomes a policeman or the policeman becomes a robber.  For the policeman to help the robbers to become policeman they have never been before.  There would need to be a change in the lives of the robbers first and effecting that change is the miracle of leadership.

God makes champions out of ordinary people and so can we.  Pastors ask me what to do when the first people you attract are not the best members.  Until the ideal members show up, what do I do with the ones I have?  When the millionaire members show up, they will have needs in their lives and the test of your leadership will be leading them.

Real and sustainable change in people’s lives begins with a change in their sense of identity.  One of the richest gifts you can give someone is a new vision of themselves. When you let them know they can do more than they think they can do you bring change to people’s lives.  What we believe is what we become. 

Most people are sabotaged by self-limiting beliefs shaped by their experience and social status.  For some being poor has become part of their culture and they battle a mindset of poverty.  It has become a group identity.  Many can’t imagine themselves becoming something else.

The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.  How do you throw the heart of a whole organization over the bow?  Matthew 13:15—Jesus described transforming the hearts in powerful steps to healing:  see with eyes; hear with ears; understand with their hearts and be healed.  Change on the outside follows change on the inside.

Whatever people see and hear consistently over time will enter their hearts and put their lives on autopilot.  Change what they see and hear.

Four steps:
1)   Describe your vision for your group or organization over and over.  There is power in vision. Vison=ability to see people, places and things not just the way they are but the way they could be.  How we describe the people we lead is so important.  Your vision is like a mirror that allows them to see their future selves.  How you treat people is important.  Twenty years ago my mentor challenged me, “Rather than planning your church on guest speakers, why don’t you become the person they want to listen to.”  He shifted my thinking about myself and that’s what great leaders do. 
2)   Set up a structured training system.  Is your training system capable of producing the leaders you see in your vision?  Training sets up consistency across the organization.
3)   You must model the transformation you want to see – as you grow, tell your employees they can do what they see you do.
4)   Reinvent over and over. You ‘die’ at one level to evolve to another. 
Many leaders are stuck because their progress has been blocked by their success.  Lead others into their own death and resurrection experience.  Train them; release them; allow them to start their own organizations.

Acts 4:13 “When the saw the courage of Peter and John and that they were uneducated men” they knew they had been with Jesus.  No one should hang around you for one year or longer without transformation in their lives.  Even you are far better than you think you are and can do a whole lot more than you do right now. Be brave to embrace and fulfill the destiny God has for you as a leader. 

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