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Being a Mission-Ready Leader

Written by Chuck Olson

October 2014 – “I can’t believe I get to do this!”

Each year at this time, I have the incredible privilege to launch a handful of discipleship groups for Kingdom-hungry leaders. These groups are called Rock Solid—rock solid on the inside and dangerous for the Kingdom on the outside. And what happens in the lives of these leaders over the course of the coming months is like getting an invitation to sit in a sky box at the Super Bowl. I’ve got the best seat in the house for the best game in town!

On opening night, our key focus is to talk about what it means to BE PREPARED—to be ready on the spot, in the moment for any assignment God may have in store.

To enlarge our understanding of what PREPARED looks like, we draw from the legendary well of the training of a Navy Seal. To get a close-up of the training of a Seal, all you have to do is read Lone Survivor (or see the movie). Lone Survivor is a heart-thumping, can’t-put-it-down story of Marcus Luttrell’s unimaginable pursuit of survival in the mountains of Afghanistan as he is hunted down by the Taliban. But leading up to the retelling of this mesmerizing story, Leading Petty Officer Luttrell devotes chapter after chapter to the grueling, grinding training that every Navy Seal undergoes. If you’ve read the book, think “get wet and sandy”, right?!

The bottomline is this: a Navy Seal is PREPARED. Drop him anywhere and he lands on his feet. At a moment’s notice, he is mission-ready.

So I’ve got a question: Do we take preparedness as a leader as seriously as a Navy Seal?

Years ago, I read Ascent of a Leader and its authors dropped this bunker-buster right in my backyard: “There is no greater loss than to come to that purpose in life for which we were born and to not be prepared.” Reality check, huh?

So how do we ramp up our readiness as leaders? How do we elevate our capacity to be mission-ready? Consider these two thoughts.

See life as preparation. Preparation is largely a matter of perspective. Getting caught up in the daily drama of our own lives is too easy. With deliberation, we need to step back. Often. It’s choosing to have eyes that see all of life as a curriculum—personally designed…by God…for you. It’s affirming His purposefulness, even when your current circumstances seem random, confusing, or counterproductive. It is a commitment to rehearsing that He is constantly tossing things—experiences, challenges, understandings, skills, attitudes—into your toolkit that will serve you well in the days ahead.

Don’t audit, enroll. I love the lyrics of country music singer Lee Ann Womack in her song, “I Hope You Dance”, especially when she refrains: And when you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you DANCE. What’s my point? There’s a big difference between sitting and dancing, between AUDITING and ENROLLING. If you audit a course at the university, you may (or may not) show up for class. You may (or may not) complete the assignments. And you may (or may not) learn the material. The temptation we have is to live on the fringes of life. Or to find the nearest exit door. Or to look the other way. Or to hope someone else steps up. But when it comes to God’s schoolhouse of preparation the only option is enrollment. It’s all in—full engagement, full participation.

Long story short, Rick Warren, pastor and author of best-seller, The Purpose Driven Life, reminds us of God’s ultimate game plan when he writes, “You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.”

And to find that purpose and to fulfill that purpose calls for a lifelong pursuit of preparedness.

As you rehearse God’s work in your life, how has He been preparing you?

Join the conversation. Post your comments below.

Chuck Olson

As founder and president of Lead With Your Life, Dr. Chuck Olson is passionate about inspiring, resourcing and equipping Kingdom leaders to lead from the inside out.  To lead, not with the external shell of positions, achievements or titles, but from an internal commitment to a deep, abiding and transparent relationship with Jesus. Serving as a pastor and leadership coach for over forty years, Chuck has a track record of building these truths deep into the lives of both ministry and marketplace leaders.

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