The Paradigm of Sequence and Process
This article was written by Clay Staires, Tulsa Leadership Trainer, Motivational Speaker & Founder of Tulsa’s #1 Leadership Program, The Leadership Initiative.
Braveheart: ‘first learn to use this… then I’ll teach you how to use this’
What are the two “this’s”? Why is it important to Uncle Argyle to teach his nephew in a sequence? The Literal and the Metaphor
We learn and grow in increments. No one is capable of moving from immaturity to maturity in one step. It’s a sequence; a process; a journey. Welcome to the journey.
This is not just a program that you complete and move on. This is a journey of a lifetime.
The Journey begins with discovering how to think! If you don’t know how to think correctly, you will misinterpret the journey. Most people do this and, as a result, get offended and quit or they never start. Have you done this? Have you ever doubted the process and jumped ship?
How you think is the most important thing about you! Your thoughts will always lead to your actions. Your actions will determine your results. To simply address a person’s action without first discovering how they think is backwards and will most likely lead to a lot of difficulty and frustration.
Kingdom Sequence: Identity before Authority
Most people are focused on ‘attainment’ and ‘results’. They decide they want a certain result and immediately expect this result to begin to materialize.
We think desire is the key (the goal): “wanting” is equivalent to “having” and “having” is an “entitlement”. Then when we don’t attain ‘the result’ in a timely manner we get frustrated and begin to get discouraged. If we’re not careful, we’ll begin to doubt our ability, our thoughts, others and even God. “I want ‘this’ and I don’t understand why God isn’t giving it to me!”
This is all due to our lack of understanding of The Paradigm of Sequence and Process.
THE PATH OF DISCIPLESHIP/LEADERSHIP
- Passion: coals to blow on (desire for change) JUST THE FIRST STEP!
- Vision: what can you see (picture of change)
- Position: you’re in the right place at the right time (for change to happen)
- Selection: called (to accept change)
- Invitation: chosen (to be taught change)
- Preparation: life circumstances become a chisel (the tool of change)
- Consecration: choices are limited because of your focus (sacrifice for change)
- Purification: fire and fear (change is invisible)
- Identification: walking in the power of your true identity (change is visible)
Many struggles in life arise from our own impatience. We want to move to the “next level” before we’re ready. We want to move forward because we have a paradigm that says to move forward IS THE GOAL. We don’t see the value of the ‘work’ of growth we simply want the ‘fruit’ of the movement.
Once you have discovered your IDENTITY, you can begin to understand your life PURPOSE. Your purpose will give your life DIRECTION. Your direction will determine your ACTIONS. And your actions will lead to your PRODUCTION!
This is the abundant life! LIFE FILLED WITH PURPOSE AND PRODUCTION!!
BUT THE MOVEMENT IS NOT UP TO US!!! ALL WE CAN DO IS OBEY AND REMAIN WILLING TO OBEY. GOD DECIDES THE MOVEMENT!
This kills people who want control! A control mentality says “I know what I need” and “I know what’s best for me” or “It’s my life, let me decide”.
God always trades UP! The mindset of the world is to “exchange for equal value”. We bring this mindset into the kingdom and then wrestle with asking God to take our sins without feeling like we have to do some kind of penance.
The Progression of Leadership Formation:
i. Personal Development: discipline and character
- Can you live within boundaries and do you do what you say you’ll do?
How much of your time is spent frustrated about having to remain within ‘the rules’? What does your bedroom look like? What kind of ‘order’ is in your day? Are you competitive with your friends and others? Are you a procrastinator? You may not like the boundaries, but you have learned to stay within them.
ii. Mentorship: submission and humility
- Can you obey the person in authority over you?
The classic movie of the young warrior being trained by the wise sage.
You can’t get there alone… you’re not supposed to. If you could, you’d never learn this lesson alone, you would miss out on the principle of ‘others’ and become a ruling dictator.
iii. Management: integrity and dependability
- Can you be counted on to oversee another persons vision
What do you do with something you’ve been put in charge of? Are you dependable to oversee it for the owner or do you use it for your own gain?
iv. Leadership: vision and strategy
- Can you see for yourself and get others to see what you see?
It’s not a matter of having ideas and personality. This level is all about being a person trustworthy of being followed because they’ve been through the process.
All Movement is based on personal character development and it continues throughout your entire life.
How do we grow? What does personal growth look like to you? When you think of moving ‘forward’, what does that look like to you? Is it vertical movement? Horizontal? A ladder? A staircase or some kind of continuum? Draw a picture of your concept of spiritual growth.
Introduce the idea of the heart being made up of many different ‘pools’. Each pool is filled with fluid, but not all of them have the same depth. Our heart can be in many different maturity levels all at the same time. We are not just one big ‘mass’ moving forward and backward in maturity.
THE PACE OF DISCIPLESHIP… ‘run and not get weary, walk and not faint’ (Isaiah 40)
Running is great, but can you “walk and not faint” (‘give up’). Like Peter, we would love to make a house on the mountaintop and stay there. However, it’s in the valley that we are made into His image.
Introduce Amoeboid Movement? (Say hello to the science teacher!)
Some areas are growing and expanding, others are not. Fluid expansion happens in different areas at the same time.
Concentric Circles – ever expanding never starting over.
To understand growth in this manner is to be free from the disappointment of feeling like you have gone back to square one! Have you ever had that feeling? Have you ever felt like you’re growing and ‘gaining ground’ in your life, then something happens and you think “I thought I had already learned that lesson!” Not only is this frustrating, but it can easily lead to hopelessness and eventually a sense of failure. The end product to this way of thinking is to quit. Most do! If you fail enough times, you’ll eventually quit.
This is why it’s so important to think about spiritual growth in the right way.
Where do you think the Lord wants to ‘expand’ you this summer?
Some thoughts to contemplate…
- How much of my thinking has been developed through a personal mentor that has sat with me and helped me interpret my life experiences through the lens of the Word of God? As opposed to… How much of my thinking has just been picked up along the way as I do the best I can to interpret my life experiences through the lens of my own limitations and prejudices?
- Are my passions and desires leading to actions that help me grow ON A CONSISTENT basis in my understanding of whom Jesus is? In what areas have I experienced an increase in passion and desire and yet never followed through with actions of love towards others?
- What are your thoughts on this ‘Kingdom Progression’? Do you agree? Disagree? Can you express your opinions in words that make you feel grounded on truth? If you agree, are you able to see yourself somewhere along the path of progression? Where would you place yourself on this ‘map’? Can you begin to see where other people (your friends…) may be on the map and how you can encourage them to move forward to the ‘next step’?