"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:8-9).
Where is God already at work? As we continue to delve deeper into our problem solving session this week, I wanted to provide an example of this leadership practice in action and how I've seen God at work. Over the past five months, I've had the privilege of assembling a team consisting of leaders from four different organizations who serve in similar spaces as ELI in Chicago. Through this team, selfless collaboration, and the Spirit's leading, each of us have started to turn challenges into opportunities. Here's how we go about applying the ELI problem solving process:
1. Define the Problem: One member of our team defines a challenge that they and their organization desire to see as an opportunity. Two weeks prior to all of us meeting together, they communicate this challenge to the full team and include any additional items or questions to consider.
2. Call your Team: After each spending time in thought, prayer, and research around the challenge, we then assemble the team every third Thursday of the month. When we gather, the challenge moves from a personal challenge to a team opportunity. Not only do we create time to engage in discussion, we also spend time praying for one another and growing connectedness as a team.
3. Collaborate a Solution: In the time set aside for selfless collaboration, we work with our team member to better understand the challenge and identify different potential solutions. This process draws upon the individual strengths and experiences of our various team members and allows each person to fully bring their own unique gifting in this dynamic exchange. It has been awesome to see how this specific space has encouraged and inspired those that have brought forward challenges to the team, including myself!
4. Execute: Once a potential solution(s) is determined, we are then able to partner with the team member to put the solution into action. With the on-going support of the larger team, a team member may commit to helping to bring about this new opportunity and work alongside the individual to see God work in the situation or circumstances. At the next monthly meeting, this individual is also able to share out with the team what has transpired!
In applying Jesus' transformational leadership practices within my own life and spheres of influence, I've been so blessed to see God bring about amazing breakthroughs. I've seen friends exchange comfortable for possible and embrace a boldness not of themselves. I've seen others move with service and intentionality to meet the needs, wants, and desires of those with whom they are building relationships. I've seen individuals become teams. And I've seen even more seek after God's purpose for them and wrestle with calling in the most challenging of places, trusting God with what's next. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths" (Proverbs 3:4-6).
What will be your next? Next step of courage? Next opportunity to trust God? Next time to simply sit and see where God is at work so that you may join Him in it? Even as we near the end of our 24 week journey together, know that this is not an end, but rather a start. In the coming four weeks, let's encourage and challenge one another to be getting after our next as we strive to be about the things of God in all that we are, think, and do. "What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be you."