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A critical word for a leader.

2 Chronicles 23:6 says: “… all the other men are to guard what the Lord has assigned to them.

The game Trivial Pursuit, created in 1979, is a board game in which winning is determined by a player’s ability to answer trivia questions. Trivial Pursuit is a fun way to spend time with family and friends . . . but it’s an ill-advised way to lead.

One of the most relentless challenges of leading is staying on mission. Much of the work competing for a leader’s time pulls him or her away from their God-given purpose. The daily firefighting inherent in directing any organization can be distracting. Strangely, it can also be intoxicating. Solving people problems and knocking off items from your to do list can bring a short-term sense of accomplishment. But these pursuits, obviously not bad in and of themselves, often kill assignment.

Hard work is noble, but only if we work hard on the right things. We can be busy with trivial stuff. It’s easy to major on minors, and minor on majors. By default, we can neglect the strategic due to distraction with the trivial.

Good leadership outcomes require you to regularly ask yourself: “Why did God put me on planet Earth?” “What is my unique contribution to the organization I’m leading?” “Am I doing what really matters?” It seems more than ever, leaders need a laser-like focus to stay on point. Guarding our assignment means we:

Devote the best part our day, time, and energy to our God-given purpose

What part of the day do you have the most energy? Do your most important work during those high-energy times. What is the most important task you have on your list today? Make sure it receives priority. What activities will move the ball down the field organizationally? Do those first. Who cares if everything doesn’t get checked off your to-do list, as long as the right things get checked off? Guarding our assignment means we:

Develop (and work at) a to-do list that tracks with our vision

Converge Coaching’s vision is to equip 25,000 leaders by 2025. Once we settled on the target, we worked our way backwards: 5-year plan; 1-year plan; quarterly plan, etc. My weekly to-do list tracks with the quarterly targets/1-year plan/5-year plan/2025 target. Guarding our assignment requires us to know what it is in the first place. Get clear on your God-given vision and purpose. Write it down, put a timestamp on it, work your way backwards, and start executing. Guarding our assignment means we:

Deal ruthlessly with distractions (notice I didn’t say deal ruthlessly with people)

A magnetic pull toward the micro, the tactical, and the trivial tugs on every leader. We have to fight the tendency to be sucked into the black hole of busy work. Pastors, for example, often find themselves invisibly pulled into thinking about door locks, alarm systems, roof leaks, clogged toilets, and storage rooms—often at the expense of casting vision, working on strategy, and developing leaders. Dealing ruthlessly with distractions means we’ll need to evaluate ourselves regularly by asking some questions:

What is my God-given assignment?

What is the greatest contribution I can make to the organization I lead?

Am I giving my God-given assignment the time, energy, and focus it deserves?

Am I busy with trivial pursuits? Or am I truly productive?

Of course from time-to-time you’ll have to tend to trivial tasks and to-dos that aren’t assignment-centric. Just don’t let these pursuits crowd out your God-given purpose.

Leader: guard with your life what the Lord has assigned to you.

I’m rooting and praying for you!

P.S. – If you’re a lead pastor, the painful sting of families leaving your church will probably never totally disappear. If you have a heart, you’ll feel it when they bolt. Putting the Good in Goodbye will help you look at the arrival and departure of people from a different perspective—perhaps from a healthier perspective—maybe even from God’s perspective. You can pick up a copy here.


John Opalewski

Author John Opalewski

John Opalewski is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. He served as a pastor for fifteen years. He has worked in the business world for nearly two decades, serving in multiple leadership roles. John's experience as a leader in both the church and business arenas has made him a sought-after international speaker, coach and mentor.

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