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It came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle (Exodus 33:8-11).

Momentum is born in prayer. A lot of times we rely on the things we do naturally to generate excitement or activity in our churches or our groups. But prayer is how God imparts the vision, and it is the birthplace of momentum.

The Leader's Attitude
The first thing we see about Joshua is that he departed not out of the tabernacle (v. 11). He was a seeker of God who gave himself to prayer. This is how God birthed the vision to direct and propel him into the Land of Promise. That same place of prayer will also reveal the will of God for our lives and for our ministries.

There is a Canaan Land for everyone. It is a land of promise which flows with milk and honey. It is a good place. It is a good land in which you will be blessed and happy and effective. But there are giants in the land. There are walled cities. There are obstacles to your moving into that Land of Promise. You must have clear vision, direction and momentum to move into the will of God for your life. And it is all born in prayer.

Long before Joshua assumed the leadership of the nation of Israel, the book of Numbers records that he was one of the 12 spies Moses sent to spy out the land. He was one of two who came back with a good report. Yes, there were giants in the land. Yes, there were obstacles. But Joshua and Caleb, the spies with a good report, chose to look on the good things, not the obstacles or the giants, and they brought a good report. "We can take the land. We can do it," they said (Num. 13:30). The other 10 spies brought an evil report. They said, "No, we can't. There are fortified cities. There are giants, and we are as grasshoppers in their sight" (Num. 13:31-33). And the Bible says their evil report did something to the people's hearts. It "melted" their hearts.

Melted Hearts
That is how leaders kill momentum, let it die or, worse yet, never let it be born - they melt the hearts of the people by focusing on the obstacles instead of the promise. We all have challenges, whether it is a new building, a contrary city council or a disagreeable coworker. No matter what they may be, we all have obstacles. Be sure, as a leader, that you do not lift up the obstacles before the people because, as the Bible says, it will melt their hearts.

The attitude of a leader must inspire confidence, confidence in the people to accomplish the task before them and confidence in your leadership to take them where they want to go. What is it that makes a person confident in your leadership? Confidence in yourself. You can declare until you are purple in the face that you are the pastor and they have to do what you say. But momentum will never occur until you inspire confidence in the people you are leading. You must be a seeker of God, and your followers must see that in you. You cannot just talk about it. They have to see your heart for God. They also have to know you spend time seeking Him in your own life. They have to know it is your priority.

Shouldered Responsibility
Effective leadership conveys the knowledge that a person has accepted responsibility for the success or failure of a ministry or organization. Joshua never said, "Well, it's so-and-so's fault," or, "We can't do this because I don't have the human resources we need." Joshua accepted the responsibility of leadership.

Stop blaming other people. It doesn't matter whether or not it is your congregation, people who minister to you or others in the body of Christ; your success or failure as a leader is your responsibility.

"Well, they're lucky and I'm not." Sorry.

"They're in the right place and I'm not." Too bad.

"I don't have any big givers in my church." Sell that down the block!

Your success is your responsibility.

Joshua never shifted blame to anyone else. Moses used to talk about this bunch of people God had given him. He would get frustrated and say, "Kill 'em, God, and do us both a favor!" But Joshua never did. One time he slipped at Ai after Israel's defeat because of sin in the camp (Josh. 7:7). But once the Lord told Joshua what the problem was, he never again said the nation's problems were because of her people. He always accepted the responsibility.

So be a seeker of God. Accept responsibility for your ministry's success and momentum toward success. And let the people know that you have accepted that responsibility. You do not have to get up and make an announcement because your followers will see in your attitude whether you are taking responsibility for what is happening or not.

Knowledge Builds Confidence
Be knowledgeable about every aspect of your ministry. People can tell when you are trying to cover up for a lack of information. If you do not know what is going on in your ministry, people will notice. Do you think people will be confident in your leadership if they know you always have to check with someone else before you can make a decision? You do not have to know everything, but you must have a grasp of the big picture. You must know what is going on, so stay current.

Decisions, Decisions
Be decisive. Joshua did not have any problem making decisions. Israel made a move toward the Land of Promise before the River Jordan ever parted. Joshua made a decision and moved on the basis of that decision. The waters did not part until the priest's foot got wet. (Josh. 3.)

Now, there is always a need to draw on the wisdom of peers, and pray and then be decisive. Oftentimes, however, the tendency is to wait until everything is just perfect and then make a decision. If Joshua had waited for the water to part, he would still be standing on the other side! Any decision is better than no decision. God can correct a moving ship; He cannot correct one that is "dead in the water."

Be willing to take risks. Folks do not want a Milquetoast leader who is afraid to step out and take a risk to do something for God. Seek God, trust God and then do it.

The attitude of the leader has an enormous effect on the momentum and the motivation of the workers who are under his direction. That attitude has to be a "can do" attitude, not born out of mindless optimism, but based on the Scripture which says you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Phil. 4:13). There is no reason to accept any situation as unmanageable. There is absolutely nothing beyond your capability or reach. You can do it all through Christ. You must know that. And the people who follow you must know that too.

God-Breathed Enthusiasm
Be enthusiastic. Your attitude must be more than positive; it must be enthusiastic. If you are not enthusiastic about what you are doing, how are you going to fire up those who are following you so they will be motivated to give an extra measure of effort?

Artificial enthusiasm is as transparent as a cheap shirt, and it will not produce any results. You must be genuinely enthusiastic about what you are doing. If you aren't and if spending time meditating on what lies before you does not generate that kind of enthusiasm, you may be in the wrong place.

There are some pitfalls that can sap your enthusiasm, such as stress, strife or not enough time with God. But if you spend a little time each day during your private devotions praying in the Spirit and allowing Him to continually paint the dream on your heart and stir you up, you will go to work fired up and genuinely enthusiastic.

Every January, when our church seeks God for the New Year's vision, I always get up and say the same thing: "This is the most dynamite year we are ever going to have." Someone once said to me, "You say that every year. You have said that every year for 10 years." But it's true. And that is the way I feel. I feel each year that it will to be the best year. You see, I cannot light a fire in your heart if it does not burn in mine.

Stoking the Fires of Enthusiasm
I realize there are times in everyone's life and ministry when being enthusiastic is not your first choice. It is difficult to be enthusiastic when you are facing a bad report or a challenge that intimidates you. But enthusiasm is a decision you make. It is not based on how you feel; it is based on the exceeding, precious promises of God.

Make the decision right now that you are going to be enthusiastic, that the fire is going to burn in you, no matter what happens. You have to be excited - more excited about what God is doing right now than you have ever been. Otherwise, you can forget about generating momentum or inspiring confidence in your leadership. If you look hang-dog about what is going on and your attitude is "Well, we have this huge challenge, folks. They're going to turn off the utilities if we don't get enough money in the offering today," just forget it! Go sell shoes or something. You have to be enthusiastic no matter what the circumstance is. I am not talking about pretending to be enthusiastic. People can see through that. It has to come from the heart.

This is part of stirring yourself up. You have to stir yourself up about the vision God has placed in your heart. You have to see it so clearly that you can impart your enthusiasm to other people. They have to see you excited about what is going on. Because, friend, without enthusiasm, you will never inspire anyone to follow you, you will never inspire confidence in your leadership, you will never generate momentum.

Don't wait on God to drop a little glory cloud on your congregation or your organization. Get into your prayer closet and stay there until you have a flame in your spirit that you can fan into a blaze. Then make something happen.

Dance, Dance, Dance
On several occasions, I've heard Brother Kenneth Hagin say, "You may start out dancing in the flesh, but then the Spirit of God falls on you." What he means is that if nothing is happening in your organization, make something happen. I'm not getting carnal about this. I have more reverence and respect for genuine moves of the Holy Spirit than I have ever had in my life. But I know that as a leader, you cannot allow inertia to set in.

Invest your resources in those things or people who have demonstrated their ability to generate momentum. God will raise up people in your organization who have the ability to get things moving. Excitement follows them, so invest your resources in them. Put them on staff. Support their efforts. Give them what they need. Do not become jealous of their gifts. God gave them to you because you need help in that area. Cultivate them. Direct them.

Remove the fear of failure from your people. One of the greatest momentum killers is a fear of failure. If, as a leader, you have criticized people who have made mistakes, you will eventually intimidate them to a point that they are afraid to step out. Let people know you support them. Say, "Hey, taking a risk means occasional failure. Sometimes we miss it. But the world isn't going to end there. God's in the business of restoration, is He not? And if our motivation and our hearts are right, we are promoting His interests to the best of our ability. If we miss it and fail, so what!" If I fall, I shall arise (Prov. 24:16). Get up and try it again!

If they experience some failure, let them know that in your eyes their credibility has not suffered a bit. Neither will their paycheck. Neither will their job security. Eliminate the fear of failure by making sure your followers understand that occasional failure is not a problem for you. Encourage them to be as determined as they can possibly be, regardless of the outcome.

Celebrate Victories
One thing you see consistently in the lives of the children of Israel is they knew how to celebrate a victory. They made it a big occasion. We should learn how to make big occasions out of our victories - even ones that seem relatively small. In church, we ask someone to testify about God's goodness, and then praise Him for it, letting the rafters shake. Israel even built memorials, for example, when they crossed the River Jordan. They built a rock memorial, a pile of stones, at Gilgal. And why did they do that? It was to be a monument to their success so generations of children after them would know God had worked a miracle. Their celebration was not just a two- or three-minute affair on Sunday morning: sing an extra chorus and give God a handclap. Their victories included building monuments to God's faithfulness so even their children would be able to share in the glorious testimony of what God had done.

Attitudes and action are vital. They had a good attitude, and they displayed it in their actions. A good leader does the same.

Source: Positioned For Promotion by Mac Hammond.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area and can also be viewed at winnersminute.com. He is also the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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