The thing that has changed me more than anything, outside of reidentification that was spurred on by Song of Songs, is the leadership lens that spiritual leaders have allowed me to see through over the past couple of years. There are some things you are required to lay down when you move from short path consciousness to long path consciousness (huge thank you to Damon Thompson for this terminology). I want to take a minute and explain how this has changed how we’ve done church and how I view success in hopes that it will give you a clearer picture of “the more excellent way.”
The conversation I most often have, as it relates to our church, is:
“How many people do you have now?”
“I’m not sure we don’t really keep count.” - Me
“Well, are you growing?”
“Absolutely!” - Me
“By how many people?”
“I don’t know we don’t keep count.” - Me
“Then how do you know you’re growing?”
“We’ve gotten closer to God.” - Me
“That’s awesome! Keep it up and I’m sure you’ll ‘get there one day’”
“Trust me, we’re ‘there’ now.” - Me
Every leader has to make the decision if they’re leading for the short path or the long path. Let me define the two:
Short path will lead to high success , quickly. It will usually result in the leader being highly revered, even famous to some. The leader will gain a lot of influence and followers, quickly. The message will always be from the posture of relevance, because this path is laid on the agenda of people pleasing. Because the success of this path is based on the leader, this path is always dependent on the leader, thus rarely survives one generation.
Long path will lead to seemingly slow success. It will result in the leader being seen as “out there” and will rarely result in notoriety for the leader, in his generation. The leader won’t attract crowds but will attract sons and daughters, slowly but surely. The leader’s focus is the purity of who remains therefore their message comes from the posture of intimacy, because the path is laid on the agenda of more of Him. Because the success of this path is based on Yahweh, this path is always dependent on the presence of Yahweh, thus always survives generations.
If you’re committed to legacy (the long path), every seemingly insignificant small step is important. If you’re committed to fame (the short path), every seemingly insignificant small step is unimportant because you need to get from point A to point B as fast as humanly possible.
The Church needs to clearly define what path it wants to be on. You can’t be on both. You’ll either have a dynasty of kings as your legacy, or you’ll make a splash in the culture over the next 5-10 years. The long path is the kingdom man’s path. Culture is not established in one generation. Culture is established over many generations. This causes me to finally live in freedom because if it doesn’t happen in my lifetime, it’s okay. I’m in this for culture, not popularity.
This doesn’t mean we are “lazy;” this means we do things differently. Is it more important to preach sermons and lead people based off of what they want or based off of the word of the Lord that calls them higher? If I’m raising followers, I appeal to their appetite. If I’m raising kids, I appeal to their best interest.
The toughest decision I make on a daily basis, as a young leader, is to commit to the long path. However, every day is a little easier because I’m seeing sons and daughters step into the first stages of destiny.
This Easter, let Jesus’ decision help call you higher. The people wanted a savior who would war against Rome. It was in their best interest to have a Savior who would conquer their sin. Jesus chose the long path.
True success is not achieved, true success is received. Worldly men have faith in their work, kingdom men work out their faith. Worldly men cause others to know their methods, kingdom men cause others to know their God. The success of worldly men can be defined in certain, observable methods; methods that can be catalogued, emulated, and sold for profit. The success of kingdom men is attributed to only one thing; that one thing is obedience to the spoken word of Yahweh. While that obedience may be manifested in observable acts, emulation of those acts by others will never bring the hoped for success.
Therefore the kingdom man’s success does not produce much in the way of a product that can be marketed and sold at great prices, bringing great wealth to the man. But the kingdom man’s success does cause glory to be given to Yahweh. Worldly men base their success upon information; information that can be cleverly edited to smooth away the rough edges, cleverly packaged, advertised, and marketed, in order to bring great wealth to it’s author. Kingdom men know that their success is based off their uncompromised obedience to a revelation from Yahweh.
True revelation is biting, sharp, provocative, challenging, an ever present threat to the status quo. Therefore kingdom men are almost always misunderstood, lonely, and rejected in their time; most often remaining a voice crying in the desert. They are recognized, honored, even revered but always by another generation, never their own. Therefore kingdom men are content to be the leaders of a remnant, the keepers of the flame, the preservers of the seed, the protectors of tomorrow’s Abrahams, Isaacs, Mosses, John the Baptists, and yes, even the Christ.
No wonder that heaven and earth together cry out for the manifesting of the sons of Yahweh.
- Apostle Nolan F. Ball