Don’t Stop Writing Your Leadership Story

You could not control your childhood story; others wrote that for you, but you can control where you find yourself today. Bitterness from the past is just destruction for your future. Disappointment from past decisions only holds you back from the future you can have. Stop blaming others or situations and start speaking words of renewal and restoration. Your time for regrouping is over; now it is time to recharge forward to birth the dreams inside of you.

In the early chapters of 1 Samuel, the reader encounters Hannah, a woman desperate to have a child. While she struggles with infertility for years, she is mocked and verbally abused because she cannot produce an heir for her husband. The shame she felt was great, and she often appeared at the altars crying to God for forgiveness and redemption. Month after month, and year after year, all she heard was silence. Yet, she never gave up praying and petitioning God. Hannah was determined not to allow her circumstances to dictate her future life. 

When you think about it, it was radical. She repeatedly went into the church and prayed, asked, and nothing happened. Why did she not give up? She wanted, better yet, she desired with all her being a child. 

It is only when you desire change and are willing to take steps to produce change that change will come. What difference do you want to occur in your leadership story? 

A Story of Determination

Hannah was determined for God to see and hear her. After years of verbal abuse from others, she was unwilling to give up and allow the negative voices to win over her faith. Instead, Hannah dug down spiritually deep weekly to show up at church and to cast her prayers upon the altar. While others mocked her with disdain, she retained her faith. 

Hannah could have stayed at home, hidden in her prayer closet, to avoid the ridicule. Instead, she stepped out publicly to acknowledge a need and showed God and her detractors that she would not allow him or them to put a period where she wanted a comma placed on her faith. Hannah’s story is a story of self-determination. A spirit of not willing to give in to what she saw currently and stepping into the unseen through faith that would determine her future.

In your current assignment, where is God calling you to redetermine your choices, dreams, and hopes? God did not call you to where you find yourself today to be comfortable but to conform to the image of God and restore what he wants you to birth. The story of your ministry or leadership assignment is peppered with off-ramps that will keep you in conformity when God wants you to keep moving forward to the place he has for you. Others could not see Hannah as pregnant, but Hannah could. Others declared she would never hold her child in her arms. But Hannah could see herself holding a baby. She could see her brushing the baby’s hair. She could see herself preparing an extra meal for her child to eat.

Maybe you do not want another child, but you want ____. Be as determined as Hannah to take the steps necessary for God to find you faithful in serving as he seeks to water the seeds inside your dreams that will come to full growth. Begin to dream. Begin to be determined to see them come to pass. Begin to pray, speak, and take steps to achieve your dream. Let your story of determination determine who you are called to be by God. 

A Story of Faith

As Hannah went to pray and seek God’s counsel, the priest’s counsel was shared with her. Eli, the priest, was pessimistic at first. As he observed Hannah, he did not see a woman of favor but of personal failure. She seemed almost drunk, he thought as she prayed, only her lips moving, but it was in those silent but powerful prayers Hannah was shifting from fear of never having a child to faith, believing beyond all hope that she would conceive. Hannah taught that instead of telling everyone what would happen, she willed herself to face the unimaginable ridicule of others to pray the power of heaven down upon her. 

As a leader, you must see the unseen. To capture the vision, develop the mission, and live out the future in your leadership. Hannah could see a future child, she knew what she would do as a mother as she had dreamt about it for years, and she was determined not to let anyone or anything get in her way of speaking to God. This a powerful leadership lesson. Hannah pressed forward in writing the next chapter of her life. She would do what it took to have a child and become the mother she longed to be. Ask yourself, Am I pressing forward in fulfilling what God has for my ministry, church, or organization? 

A Story of Persevering

How many times had Hannah prayed, but nothing happened? How many times did she feel the sting of negative words coming from others? What kept her going? She had an unabashed longing for her goal to have a child. 

During leadership struggles, a leader can either keep pressing forward or walk away. It might be easier to walk away, but it is in the hard seasons that God shows you how much character you have. Hannah would not give up. She kept at it day in and day out. If God has given you a vision for the local church, keep pressing forward as a leader. Even as temptations of another assignment or just sitting back and coasting in your present assignment come upon you, keep pushing forward. Keep doing your part to birth God’s dream for your ministry.

Desmond Barrett
Desmond Barrett
Desmond Barrett is the lead pastor at Winter Haven First Church of the Nazarene in Winter Haven, Florida. He is the author of several books, most recently, Helping the Small Church Win Guests: Preparing To Increase Attendance (Wipf & Stock Publications) and has done extensive research in the area of church revitalization and serves as church revitalizer, consultant, coach, podcast host and mentor to revitalizing pastors and churches.