The Soulful Leader

A lot has been said about leading well, much less has been said about finishing well. Leaders are usually recognized when they’re on top of the world; when there’s over a million in the bank or over a million followers on social media. Leaders are known when thousands are flowing into their churches or when they get that book publishing deal – but no one wants to talk about the leader who cheated on their spouse or gambled away ministry funds or struggled with same-sex attraction. We don’t hear stories about the leaders who’ve lost their souls because it’s no longer a tragedy, it’s a common occurrence.

According to Dr. Robert Clinton, professor of leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary, 70% of leaders don’t finish well – so that includes most of you (leaders) reading these words right now. That’s a sobering thought.

But take heart…because according to Jesus, finishing well is possible. The key is found in Jesus’ command to love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27). Leaders who minister out of “being-ness” finish well, with souls intact and all.

This truth makes me think hard about the type of soulful leader I want to be, the leadership life I want to live, and the leadership legacy I want to leave behind when I die. I’ve come to realize that leadership is not so much about my present accomplishments but it’s about my eternal influence. The things I do now only matter if I am doing them in Christ. The catalyst for Jesus’ second command to love our neighbor is fueled by our deep abiding in God.

So, when was the last time you stopped to check your soul? When was the last time you recognized Jesus as Lord of your heart? When was the last time you mindfully considered your status as a loved child of God? Leaders who finish well are leaders who stop to strengthen their souls.

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