Maturing as a Leader: What Got You Here, What Will Get You into “Next,” part 2

Being a leader applies to everyone since personal leadership is universal and individual. “Being a leader” gets more specific in the roles we play: husband or wife, father or mother, employee or employer, warrior or general, ruler or king, and king or kingdom, for example. Leadership assumes definition in function, but our personal leadership continues to function in every role and function in a defining way.

We can mature personally without maturing in leadership. We can achieve without expanding leadership influence and impact. To mature as a leader, we need to mature personally but apply maturity to our leadership role and function. Maturing as a leader means maturing the people we lead in their personal leadership. That pretty much sums up discipling in that discipling is more than mentoring, and by definition, we don’t disciple ourselves. All leadership requires accountability. Achievement is more about personal triumph. We beat others by playing our best, not much leadership there beyond personal leadership. We influence ourselves more than others except to set an example or break through a barrier.

Jesus is leading many sons into Glory. He is the King of Glory, so He is leading many sons into Glory. So, His personal leadership is eternally perfect, infinitely perfect. Jesus, on “being a Leader,” is more about maturing the leaders in His kingdom. The King has a kingdom in which He is maturing kingdom leaders. That’s more than a ruler or king because it means that He is more than an achiever in the sense of an example or barrier breaker. Beware any sense of the finished work of Christ being a “He did it so I don’t have to” that cancels out your personal transformation.

In one sense, Jesus did what we could never do for ourselves. In another sense, what Jesus did brings us into what He did: what killed Jesus should also kill us so the life of the Resurrection is manifested in our mortal bodies. We become who we are by His life in us. What He accomplished becomes more than a barrier broken through because He brings us through the barrier. What I mean is, beware any sense that Jesus ran the race so you don’t have to run at all. “Look to Jesus as the Source and Resource, running with endurance the race that is set before us.” He set the race so we can run it. He finished the race so we can finish it. A great cloud of witnesses watch the entire scenario play out.

David the Maturing Leader

David becomes more than an example or model. David does more than mentor. David is a leader who makes leaders. In this way, David’s leadership matures, and David matures with its higher expressions of leadership. David as shepherd become David as warrior becomes David as general becomes David as ruler becomes David as king becomes David in kingdom becomes David with a kingdom that will be made eternal by Messiah.

Achievers can wait around for their achievements to be history, their records to be broken, and their barriers breakthrough to set new barriers. Not David. David was a leader whose role and function matured so he could lead at another level. Achievers do not need to mature beyond their own personal leadership. Leaders need to mature the people they lead in order to step up to “next.” David stepped up to “next” until he stepped up to kingdom. David could have been king without stepping up to kingdom. By that I mean, David could have been king of his own kingdom, but David stepped up to establish kingdom that Messiah would make eternal.

What got David to each level of function was not what got David to the next level of function, but there were constants in his life that matured with his leadership. We have a record of his worship maturity that helps us see that David’s worship matured at each level of his leadership. As he moved up and on, his worship went with him. If we apply that David moving from king to kingdom, we understand the dynamic of kingdom leadership we need to know about! More on this later…

In the book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, the author says the higher leaders go in an organization the more superstitious they become, that we tend to think that what we did before that resulted in a positive condition, feeling, or reinforcement causes us to assume the positive condition, feeling, or reinforcement happened because of what we did. So, we do it again and again, thinking that what we are doing causes positive conditions, feelings, and reinforcements when it doesn’t. The positive reinforcement occurs for various reasons, and our “superstitions” become settled while our outcomes diminish. He concludes that the higher we go, we need to make our leadership about others winning instead of about winning ourselves. Achievement doesn’t get you into higher leadership, getting others to achieve does.

Of course, we are talking kingdom here, so we aren’t discussing winning or losing but leadership. Apply the concept, however, to kingdom leadership in this way: what got you here won’t take you to what’s ‘next.’ In that, we assume that what made us successful will make others success because they will ride our coattails to the top by being part of our team. Our definition of “team” includes the definition of “I’m the captain of the team and the best player that you all go out there to support.”

In reality, personal maturity and leadership maturity don’t have a trade off in the kingdom. That is, kingdom leaders do not need to lose something in order to make other leaders; they expand their leaders through other leaders, and those leaders experience greater personal leadership and expanded kingdom leadership themselves. It isn’t a trade off. Leadership maturity doesn’t diminish someone else at all, either the leader or those following the Leader.

That is why David as king proceeded onto kingdom. The final goal of king is to expand your kingdom, but the final goal of kingdom is to expand the kingdom to other kingdoms. The kingdom is led by the King of kings. He is King of other kings but all the other kings are in His kingdom. He is never diminished by raising up other kings; He finishes the restoration of what He redeemed by raising up other kings. He created kings to have dominion of all. He redeems kings to have dominion of all. He restores kings to have dominion of all. The more dominion His kings expand to, the more complete the restoration!

David the Maturing Worshipper

I’m hearing a consistent discussion of worship as a means of establishing kingdom. I’m pursing that kind of worship. Recently, I felt that God was blending worship and intercession in a way that we could no longer tell the difference between them. I wondered at what this meant and to what it was leading us. In David, I catch a glimpse because David matured as a worshipper at the same time and to the same extent he matured as a kingdom leader.

David was king of Jerusalem without the ark of covenant, but David wasn’t just a king. He had been a ruler of a city, a general of an army, a warrior against an enemy, and a shepherd of his father’s sheep. When he came into his role and function as king, he arrived with his own fortune and army, and he immediately set about to establish something not present in Judah and Israel. Saul had been king of his own kingdom. David wished to establish God’s kingdom, so he did something more than “be a king.” He became part of God’s kingdom.

As David walked through levels of leadership, maturing as a leader because the people he was leading were maturing with him – don’t miss the fact that this is why he came into his kingship with his own army – and his worship matured with every step he took in leadership maturity. His worship went with him.

Now, as David brings the ark into Zion. His worship also matures. His immediate efforts at relocating Glory were deadly. His maturity in worship was not showing up his leadership; a priest accompanying the ark did not understand how to function in his role as a leader because the priest’s worship was immature for this kingdom level. He touched what is untouchable to secure what possesses it own security, to add to what is always complete, and God broke out on him. That is, to mature in worship, we must understand what is appropriate as a response to the next level of our leadership.

Whenever God showed up to bring His people into greater kingdom maturity, He would explain the appropriate response of worship they would fulfill at that level. “Moses, take your shoes off.” “Moses, hide in the cleft of the rock.” “Moses, tell the people not to touch the mountain.” “Moses, tell the people to redeem the firstborn.” “Moses, only priests can do this, and only the high priest can do this.” “Moses, at this level of Glory, death becomes part of the equation.”

Recall how Jesus said the woman who anointed Him was appropriate in her sacrifice, worship, and response. It was appropriate to pour out a year’s income on Him in preparation for His burial.

Now, consider how David responds to the death of a priest who touched the ark to steady it. David matures his worship. First, he gets the ark off the cart and onto the shoulders of the priests. Then, he offers sacrifices every seven steps. Then, the Bible says that David did something in worship that really broke the sound barrier: he danced in an ephod before The Lord in the sight of the people.

Now, this represents and presents a maturing of David’s personal worship and kingdom leadership that set a new precedent of appropriate behavior that became scandalous to his own wife, the residue of Saul’s previous leadership spirit, and set a new norm for the entire culture in terms of worship.

So, worship influenced and impacted the culture so deeply that it reset the norms of that culture. His wife pretty well summed up the “appropriate” in her scandalous criticism. David broke the cultural norms by dancing as a man, a king, in priestly attire, without appropriate clothes, in front of the women who were supposed to be the dance leaders and definers of dance, and in front of the ark when this had never been understood at appropriate behavior in Glory before that moment.

David’s worship leadership reset the culture of the nation! David could not do this as a shepherd, warrior, ruler, or king until he brought his leadership into kingdom. Before that, it was inappropriate.

Consider that rebuilding the tent of David requires us to create a kingdom condition in which it can function with kingdom leaders whose personal worship can lead the culture in appropriate worship. While the culture of every nation is set to be transformed, not destroyed, there is a principle of appropriate worship behavior as a response to the redemptive purpose of that culture.

Can I say that we may be attempting to rebuilt David’s Tent without first preparing and positioning kingdom leaders? Can I also say that we may be attempting to rebuild David’s Tent without maturing our worship? Can I say that we may have leaders parading in front of Glory who haven’t personally matured their worship to the point at which they can shift the culture? Can I finally say that David’s public dance was a manifestation of his maturing leadership and personal worship maturity, that we must mature our worship at the same pace we mature our leadership?

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