Leadership: Initiative vs. Inertia

I recently sent this to the elders of our church for review and consideration. I am still processing it myself, but as I am currently working through Tim Elmore’s Portrait of a Leader: The Strategic Formation of a Leader, I am reassessing my own leadership style and the way that I seek to influence people.

I first went through Experiencing God when I was in Garland, Texas, I believe. Since then, I’ve been though it 4-5 more times. It was revolutionary for my Christian walk, teaching me to live by faith rather than sight.

However, I’ve often reflected on how much inaction sometimes surrounds my faith walk, and I wonder how much of that is traceable to the perspective I picked up from EG. You see, EG teaches us to look and see where God is at work around us. Jesus said, “My Father is at work.” It’s a great principle. It also warned us not to launch out and “do something” for God. Too often we feel like we must be busy for God when actually He desires that we be waiting on Him.

I am beginning to think that EG may have ruined me. So many times, I’m waiting for something – anything – to happen, and I have begun to realize that God is also not interested in my inactivity. The servant who buried his talent “waiting” for his master’s return was condemned. The ones who invested their talents and put them to use were exalted.

It’s the issue of inertia vs. initiative. When to act and when to wait? Saul was condemned in the Old Testament for offering sacrifices before Samuel arrived, even after being told specifically to wait on him.

I’m struggling to find balance and perspective in this. I’d love your prayers and then your input on this issue. When is time to wait and when is it time to act? When is it time to launch out on faith and make big things happen? Or are we to wait on God in all things? Perhaps it’s not an either/or issue but a both/and.

On this day...


  1. Jeff says:
    Of all entries, I am surprised that this one has been commented on. I must admit I’m relieved to know “I’m not crazy.”

    I still DO think that much of the time we get ahead of God by not being patient. We are an immediate gratification culture. However, for the person attempting to walk with God, you do have to put one foot in front of the other. If you’re still where you were a year ago (maturity-wise), you may have missed out on a world of joy and blessing.

    I like the analogy I first read in a Beth Moore Bible study book. It goes something like this… A man in heaven was shown the path of his life by the Lord. Tracing the route of his life, he noticed that there were several opened gift boxes at important junctures in his life. The birth of children, the salvation of a friend, surreal peace in a difficult time were all represented by opened gift boxes.

    However, there were many more gift boxes, unopened resting on the route of his life. He asked the Lord what they were and why they were still there. The Lord responded, “My child, those are more blessings and promises, provisions and enablements I had to give you, but which you never opened. In those moments, you were distracted or disobedient or unable to see with eyes of faith and so missed some precious earthly joys. But come now, enter into the joy of your Master.”

  2. Mark W. says:
    Several years ago the whole EG craze swept through the church I was attending back home. Several friends and family members suggested that I go through EG with a study group, and they explained that same premise of seeing where ?God is working? and joining that. What I could never square with is the implicit suggestion that Christians should act like an ant colony or a bacterial infection. It seems that having a huge number of Christians just waiting to ?join in? on something makes it easier for well-intentioned people to be manipulated by the very people who are not following this principle. Thus, living by this principle (which isn?t necessarily the ONLY scriptural way of life) seems to be inconsistent, or at least fraught with more potential dangers than other acceptable alternatives. Also, I don?t believe that encouraging people to ignore their own inventiveness and creativity is all that honoring to the God who gave us these unique abilities (in his likeness). Someone might argue that EG addresses the dangers I?ve mentioned, but that doesn?t mean that the authors? ?look and join? maxim is any more stable. If we are, indeed, on a spiritual journey, then I would rather study something that teaches spiritual discernment for its own sake, not simply as a means of deciding whose ministry gets your manpower (or woman power as the case may be). Perhaps I’m missing something, though. I’d like to read what others have to say too.
  3. Lou Arnold says:
    I too did Experiencing God. That was about 8 or 9 years ago. For me, it allowed me to realized what my calling was for. Did I act on it? Yes, I did right then, but that lasted a few months. I started a devotional that I sent out through e-mail. I got great response and even had been refered to others. I took this as a great compliment. Why didn’t I continue? I just slacked off. I have been kicking myself ever since. Now, I contemplate should I jump right into it again or wait for God to send a sign. Thanks for bringing more light to me on this subject. My inactivity is not necessarily pleasing God.

    I am pryaing for you and Journey. You all have meant a lot to me and my family.

  4. Kristy says:
    I can’t believe you blogged about this. It’s been on my mind lately so much….like I’m waiting on something big. Yesterday at church I was thinking about mine and MIke’s walk and was pondering what our Heb. 11 would say. Maybe something like, “By faith Mike and Kristy Hales sat on their butts and lived a great little life of love, but they really wanted to do something HUGE.” I’m so not sure if there’s something wrong with that or not. I’m just not satisfied with mediocrity; but then I begin questioning my motives…why do I want more, why do I feel the need to walk on water, etc.

    Let me know when you get it all balanced πŸ™‚ Til then I think I’ll just journey, taking one day at a time!

    Maybe I should have written this essay on my own blog.

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