Effective leaders Reflect. On the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, Confederate General Robert E. Lee ordered an infantry assault consisting of 12,500 men to exploit a weak point in the Union army’s line at Cemetery Ridge. Even after being advised by his subordinate officer Lt. Gen. James Longstreet that the attack would be futile, General Lee stood by his orders.
General Meade of the Union army, understanding his force’s weak point, predicted the Confederate army would attack the center of their lines that morning. The Union forces concentrated artillery and rifle fire at the center, and the Confederates advanced 12,500 men over 3/4 of a mile. Pickett’s charge failed with over 6,000 casualties to the Confederate forces, and the Union went on to win the Civil War.
The Confederates failed to reflect adequately, and the Union took time to reflect and strategize. Understanding where they were weak was key to winning the Battle of Gettysburg and eventually the war. As Christian leaders, we must understand that we are weak and that Jesus is strong. If I fail to reflect on that first, then the temptation will be to carry out my ministry on my own strength and wisdom. That will lead to certain defeat, as our enemy Satan is cunning.
I would like to take some time to share a personal reflection which will hopefully be helpful to all the churches. Dr. Kimble’s point on intentionality in his discussion on “reflection” stuck out to me the most. This is the word that has been coming up the most for me in my prayer times the last few months. I just took on the calling this last summer as Associate Pastor for a new church in PA, having transitioned from teaching public school in OH. This class is very timely for me, as the Lord is calling me to serve, lead and facilitate a greater experience of the Holy Spirit’s transforming work in the Body of Christ. We need to see revival in the American Church, and this takes intentionality on every believer’s part.
It has to start with us who lead. One verse that has come up frequently is 2 Chronicles 7:14. Dr. Kimble’s point about exemplary living ties in directly to reflecting, as he said we must be “lead repenters.” Hearts will be restored, souls will be reconciled to God, and the Church will be ready to meet Christ as we respond to God’s judgment in humility. God promised Solomon when His people “pray…seek…turn” He will indeed “hear from heaven” and restore them. God has entrusted us with he word of reconciliation as His ambassadors on earth (2 Cor. 5:20). Let’s take hold of the vision that we are here with a mission, as in a foreign country, with the most important message ever entrusted to a human being. We must first be transformed.
Like General Meade, let us be mindful of our weakness so that we can be fully equipped for the battle to come. “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet…” (Hebrews 12:12-13).
Hebrews 13:8 tells us the object of our faith: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” The same Lord who brought about the outcome of the faith of those who led us, those who led them, and all those who persevered from beginning to end (Hebrews 11), is the same Lord who will bring our faith to completion. Let’s keep in view the ultimate goal as we shape our everyday tasks: “For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come” (Heb. 13:14).
Is that the first thing you think about in the morning?
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Senior Pastor for Shoaff Park Baptist Church in Fort Wayne, IN.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!