If your inner script is flawed, your leadership will be flawed: Rev Edmund Chan on the first day of IDMC 2020 online conference
by Janice Tai // September 4, 2020, 6:01 pm
Reverend Edmund Chan at the Intentional Disciple-Making Churches Conference 2020, which was held online.
A house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof.
His father said to him: “My son, jump and I’ll catch you.”
All the boy could see, however, were flames and black smoke. He was terribly afraid.
“But I can’t see you. I can’t see you,” the son shouted.
Through the seasons of life, we have the promises of God and we therefore have faith for all the seasons of life
The father told him: “Son, I can see you. And that’s all that matters. Jump, son. I will catch you. I can see you.”
The boy jumped because he trusted his father.
Reverend Edmund Chan told this story to an audience of 5,000 at the Intentional Disciple-Making Churches (IDMC) conference that was held online this year.
“The times that we say, God, where are you? I can’t see you, I can’t see you. And God replies, Son, I can see you. And it’s all that matters. Daughter, I can see you. And it’s all that matters.
“That’s why we take the leap of faith. That’s why we trust in the promises of God. That’s why through the seasons of life, we have the promises of God and we therefore have faith for all the seasons of life,” said Rev Chan, who is the leadership mentor at Covenant Evangelical Free Church and founder of the Global Alliance of IDMC.
Foundation of our inner life
Rev Chan was speaking on the conference theme of “whole-life discipleship” on the first day of IDMC 2020 today (Sept 4).
In particular, he spoke about having a discipleship that sustains us through the various seasons of life.
In order to manage the chronic busyness of our lives, he said we have to appreciate the different seasons of our lives and grow to master these life transitions.
“This inner script that we have must be anchored in the Word of God.”
He outlined eight decadal seasons of life seen in three broad categories: The developmental years from birth to 30 years old, the defining years from 30 years old to 60 years old and the deepening years from 60 years old and beyond.
In each season, there are opportunities for growth and development, as well as opportunities for contribution and service. With new opportunities also come new challenges, he noted.
“We have to learn to reinvent ourselves, reinvent our leadership, redevelop ourselves for a new season of life. Otherwise, we will be embracing new opportunities in the old ways which wouldn’t really cut it,” said Rev Chan.
In order for people to reinvent themselves in a way that would change the way they lead themselves and others, Rev Chan emphasised that believers need to learn the art of re-scripting.
This is because many of Man’s choices are not made out of cognitive reasons, but out of emotive feelings.
“So often our emotive feelings govern our choices. But what then governs our emotive feelings? What governs our emotions, that in turn governs our choices, is our inner script,” said Rev Chan.
Often when the inner script is flawed, the leadership is flawed, he observed.
“This inner script that we have must be anchored in the Word of God. The Word of God must be our guidance, our compass and it must inform us of the ultimate reality. So that in our inner re-scripting, we are re-scripting according to the truth, according to the promises of God according to the precepts and the principles of God in His Word,” said Rev Chan.
Three promises for three leadership struggles
Specifically, he singled out three great promises of God in Isaiah 41: 9-10, where God says He has chosen us (v9), He is with us and He is our God (v10).
He gives three great assurances: I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you.
When our eyes are on God, He not only promises to strengthen us (v10), but also to reinvent us for His glory (v15: “Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge, new, sharp, and having teeth …”)
“Too often we apply these promises in a limited way. Often, we look at these promises and apply them to our problems. It’s not wrong, but it’s short sighted.
“What we need to do is to apply these promises of God through the seasons of life and anchor them upon the calling of God on our lives,” observed Rev Chan.
He then went on to illustrate how these promises of God can be applied to three common leadership struggles.
Struggle #1: Despairing that the task is too big or the problem too great.
“Who are we to do this?” some people ask themselves. Rewriting one’s inner script means remembering that God says that He has chosen you.
In John 15:16, Jesus said “you have not chosen me but I have chosen you and ordained you that you may bear fruit and that your fruit might remain.” So, no task is too big and no problem too great, said Rev Chan.
Struggle #2: Fearing that the resources on hand are too little.
“How can we possibly do this?” the leaders ask. And God says, “Fear not, I am with you.” He shows himself faithful. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will always provide for us in His time and in His way to fulfill His calling for His glory, said Rev Chan.
Struggle #3: Bemoaning that the progress is too slow.
In other words, what’s the use of doing something?
And God says: “Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.”
He gives His people three great assurances: I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.
Sometimes we wish that God will just lighten or remove the load, but no, He gives us strength for the load to fulfil his mission for our life in all seasons of life, added Rev Chan.
Reinventing ourselves through the seasons
Recently, Rev Chan had shared his thoughts on how leaders are shaped by their inner script with his international mentee, who heads a global Christian organisation.
His mentee reflected on the conversation they had had and sent him a long voicemail of some of the critical areas in his life and leadership that needed re-scripting.
Rev Chan shared them with the audience today as he found them helpful for leadership.
Whatever opportunities and challenges there are in this season of your life, you have the promises and principles of God.
The leader said he needed to exchange emotional fatigue for courage in the Lord. With the pressure of leadership over time, he became very tired. However, he saw the need to be courageous and remember that even when he thinks he cannot do something, the Lord can and will empower him.
Connected to his emotional fatigue was having ambiguity and hence, he felt a need for clarity. He was not clear of what he wanted, what needed to be done or what kind of people he wanted to partner with.
He also hoped to swap his insecurities and focus on his calling instead.
“I know that the Lord has called me. I know the passion I have in my heart. I know how the Lord has used me and I get very satisfied in the results of certain accomplishments. But I will say that the inner security of calling was not very strong. So, I need to constantly remind myself of God’s calling over my life and boldly walk in it,” said the leader.
Other areas in which he found that needed re-scripting included the need for him to be rested instead of being over-reactive, to be connected to his staff and leadership team instead of isolating himself to merely achieving the vision and mission of his organisation, to seek the Lord instead of making impulsive decisions, delegating and empowering his staff instead of wanting to be in control and to engage in deeper thinking from a rested place instead of having anxious thoughts in a demanding world.
Said Rev Chan as he drew the fourth plenary session to a close: “We need to come back to the Word of God that is given to us for all seasons of life. Whatever opportunities and challenges there are in this season of your life, you have the empowerment of the promises and the principles of God to help you.”
Early bird registration is open for Singapore IDMC conference 2021: Grace and Glory – Five empowering principles for kingdom life. Sign up at www.idmc.org.sg
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