Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is get some rest. In times of discouragement, it's easy to lose sight of our vision and God's promises, then we acquiesce to the circumstances around us. We allow the obstacles to become blockades rather than opportunities for God to show Himself greater.
I think of Pastor César Castellanos, founder of International Charismatic Mission Church. During a time of discouragement and weariness, he went to the beach with his family to rest, and the Lord gave him a download of the G-12 church discipleship model based on Jesus' model of investing in His 12 disciples.
After implementing this model, Castellanos' own church grew to be one of the largest churches in Colombia, and we now see G-12 practiced in churches around the world.
Jesus, too, often pulled away from the crowds for a time of rest. But He also surrounded Himself with the 12 disciples. Three of them He drew especially close to and confided in.
Kathy Branzell, President of National Day of Prayer, tells us there are many things that are critically important in the life of anyone in a leadership position, including rest and connection, especially with intercessors and with your team.
"Jesus never, ever sent a disciple out alone," Kathy said. "They were always sent out in twos, or more. That's why you need an intercessors team, no matter what your assignment is and no matter what your season is.
"We need faith-filled people who will pray the Word of God — not their opinions, not their purposes, and not out of manipulation — but people who will pray the Word of God over us every single day."
The hidden place where tears are wept for those we are helping, guiding and leading can be a very lonely place.
"Satan is more than happy to slither in and come keep us company when we isolate ourselves," Kathy warns. "We must do as Jesus did. If the Son of God on earth needed a small circle of trusted friends, so do we! We've got to have somebody we can be fully transparent with, we can fully trust, and who will pray for us in those times — because the saying 'It's lonely at the top' is not just a saying. Leadership can be a very lonely place. Don't let it be."
Daniel 11:32b (NKJV) tells us, "the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." But the next three verses tell us there will also be leaders who fall. If we give way to flattery, our path will be eroded with slipperiness. However, if we humble ourselves in that place of failure, God will bring us back stronger than before. That's my prayer for leaders who struggle, because it's not an easy place to be.
In the beginning God declared, "it is not good for man to be alone" (Gen. 2:18, NLV). Going it alone wears us out and makes us an easy mark for the enemy. As believers and leaders, we must acknowledge our human limitations and have trusted co-laborers who will hold up our arms when we are weary, encourage us when needed, and pray for us always. And we must do the same for them!
Dr. Doug Stringer is founder and president of Somebody Cares America/International. As an American of Asian descent, Doug is considered a bridge-builder of reconciliation amongst various ethnic and religious groups. He is a sought-after international speaker, addressing topics such as persevering leadership, reconciliation, community transformation, revival and more. He is host of A Word in Season with Doug Stringer & Friends, with new programs posted weekly on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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