Start Leading: Intentionality – Carolyn Carney

Every week in this space I will offer some thoughts to aid you in your own spiritual formation as a leader.  You invest a lot of time and energy and money into your college education.  (And for that matter, you invest a lot of time and energy and money into gaming and caffeine consumption and staying in touch with your friends!)  Professors give careful thought and consideration regarding the components you will need in order to master the course content they are teaching.  Have you given careful thought to what components you need in order to be spiritually formed into the image of Christ or are you just making it up as you go along? 

Spiritual formation is not simply what happens at a conference like Basileia or Expedition or the Big Event.  Spiritual formation centers around the steps you intentionally take toward Christlikeness in between those conferences and all that time outside of Christian gatherings and worship services.  Leadership is a context for your spiritual formation.


Intentionality.  It is how leaders live.  In the first chapter of Mark, after a very long day of ministry where Jesus teaches with authority, casts out demons, calls disciples and heals an entire town, he retreats to a place of prayer.  Rising from that time of prayer—a consultation, if you will, with the One who leads him—Jesus emphatically says to Simon, “Let us go on….so thatfor that is what I came out to do.”  Let us, so that, for—small words, big impact.  Jesus comes out of this time with a clear intention, a decisive direction, a specific purpose.  He’s not making this up as he goes along or just doing what he feels like doing; he is always purposeful and intentional.

Part of being formed into the image of Christ, means that I endeavor to become more intentional and I ask God to help build this in me.  How can intentionality become a spiritual practice for us as leaders?

Here are some examples of intentionality a leader can take after a large group meeting:

  • Meet 3 new people.  Ask good, opening up questions, like, What happened for you when the speaker talked about ______________? Or What is your faith background?
  • Affirm and thank the speaker.  Ask what observations he or she has about the chapter.
  • Give verbal feedback to anyone who’s been upfront: one thing positive that they did, one thing they can improve.
  • Jot down some notes you want to bring up at the next leadership meeting.
  • Find one current member who seems to be “off”, not interacting, aloof.  Find out what’s up or delegate to someone else.  The key is to notice.
  • Ask if you can pray with someone who is in need or has responded to an invitation.

This week practice intentionality in your conversations, in your commitments, in your studying, in your leading others.  Notice what happens, both in you and in others when you are intentional.

Lord, Jesus we are sorry for handling so casually matters that are important to you and the building of your kingdom.  As we learn to practice intentionality in our leadership, will you grant to us a more purposeful mindset—to stay the course, until you lead us to the next thing? 

Question: Share the context in which you intend to act intentionally for the sake of mission his week in the comments.


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