What goes up, must come down.
Well, that is what the prevailing wisdom tells us. Why? Because of gravity.
Let me turn the idea upside down.
What goes down, must come up.
Ok, the logic isn’t quite scientific, but for the purposes of this series of blog posts, that statement is true. How so?
Well, we have started with VISION, moved down to MISSION, and then to STRATEGY. Now, as we look at the STEPS, we do so with the intent to move back up the SYSTEM. As I have written previously, the STEPS allow us to execute the STRATEGY which helps us fulfill (complete) our MISSION and ultimately allows us to achieve our VISION. So what comes down must then come back up in order to make the SYSTEM complete.
In last week’s post, I covered the first of my STEPS and how LEARN relates to the STRATEGY. This week, I will briefly cover the other 3 (actually 4) STEPS. Again, each of the STEPS begin with L and thus, our ministry is called 4L Ministries so we have three more L’s. However, technically, a fifth L exists (LEAVE) and that is why I must include the extra STEP in my description below.
The STEPS are:
- LEARN – More about God and how He wants me to serve Him. (Ephesians 5.1-2)
- LIVE – With a mindset on His Kingdom, not mine. (Matthew 6.33)
- LOVE – My wife and children, then others, that each might find their own place in serving God. (2 Timothy 2.2)
- LEAD – My family, then, others to serve God and make disciples by equipping them with biblically-based principles. (1 Corinthians 11.1)
- LEAVE** – Satisfied that my word is done when I am called, knowing others are equipped to carry on the ministry after I am gone. (2 Timothy 4.7)
So, having covered LEARN, let me now cover LIVE, LOVE, LEAD, and LEAVE.
LIVE – As I said in last week’s post, you cannot truly LIVE until you LEARN. We must learn to talk and walk and eat and work, etc. But once we know what to do, we still must choose to LIVE. As Jesus said at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, we have a choice with what to do with His words – will we follow or will we disregard? If you read beyond the word LIVE, you will see that my intention is to focus on God’s Kingdom, not mine. Certainly, I fail at this often, which is why I must continue to LEARN. But if I am to achieve my VISION (going back up to the top), I must LIVE the life He has called me to live.
LOVE – Many will suggest that LOVE should be before LIVE because LOVE is the essence of the Great Commandment. Of course, love is important, but as it relates to my STEPS, LOVE is not just about people; it is also about what must be done. Therefore, I put LIVE first because sometimes, we must do certain tasks before we begin to LOVE doing them. For me, giving comes to mind. When I was younger, I gave out of obedience to God, but now I give out of my LOVE for Him.
Now, as it relates to my STEP of LOVE, the words do focus on my family, which is the kind of LOVE one would expect to be defined here. But, surprise, I have a reason for that too. I can get very focused on what I do. And most everything I do relates to teaching in some way (including this blog). So, I have learned to LIVE a disciplined life in many ways, and, if I am not careful, I can focus too much on simply checking off the next task. So, this STEP of LOVE is written as it is to remind me of the Great Commandment (which is the first part of my MISSION, if you recall), which coming after the STEP of LIVE to remind me that sometimes I will LEARN to LOVE what I am doing after a period of time. (Additionally, notice that LOVE is described here as preparing my family and others to serve God as well – that is, for them to LEARN how to LIVE.)
LEAD – Ultimately, to LEAD is the purpose Jesus gives to anyone who calls Him “Lord.” I will say more about this idea in future posts (likely beginning in two weeks), but as disciples we are called to make disciples. To make a disciple is to ask someone (or many) to follow you. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11.1, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” Thus, we are to LEAD others to know and serve Jesus just as He commissioned us (Matthew 28.18-20). For me, to LEAD involves a great deal of teaching, but my teaching is most effective when I have taken the time to LEARN, and then LIVE and LOVE as He has commanded me. That is, my teaching is most effective when I am walking the walk that I like to talk. And although we do not need to wait to LEAD until we know what we are doing (really, we don’t!), the STEP of LEAD is last because we (or, at least, I) need to be doing those other STEPS if I wish to truly LEAD.
LEAVE – While the ultimate commission for all who are born-again is to make disciples, and the ultimate command is to love God and others, the one certainty for everyone is that one day we will LEAVE this life behind. All religions believe this. All non-religious people acknowledge this. So, the only question is, what will we do while we are here? That is, how will we LIVE? For me, I want to LEARN and LIVE and LOVE and LEAD in a way that lasts beyond my lifetime. Yes, I want to LEAVE a legacy. But ultimately that legacy is not really about me, it is about what God did to me, did for me, did with me, and did through me.
My VISION cannot be achieved unless this final STEP is realized. Again, my VISION is “To be the man God has called me to be,” which is based upon Ephesians 4.1 and 5.1). I cannot accomplish that on this side of eternity. I must first finish the task that God has assigned to me here which is to pass on what has been handed down to me, as one who has received what has been continually passed down from generation to generation, just as Paul commanded Timothy in 2 Timothy 2.2). Therefore, I must seek to live by the PROCESS (the STEPS) that I have developed, so others will continue the work when I am no longer here to do my part. I will LEAVE. We all will. And so, I must not only be prepared, but prepare others as well.
We are drawing near to the end of this series. I will explain the fullness of my SYSTEM once more in the next post. Then, I will show how having this type of SYSTEM fits with the words of Jesus in the Great Calling and the Great Commission, before concluding this series in early October.
So, for those who are following along with each post in real time, I encourage you once more to consider the PROCESS that will work for you to execute your STRATEGY. The time for design is almost complete. It is about time to start putting your SYSTEM to the test. And that is when all of this work becomes worth it.