HIGHER THINKING BLOG
Obedience Leads to Kingdom Outcomes By Patti Garibay
Obedience Always Leads a Christ-follower to Kingdom Outcomes
Today’s post on how obedience leads to Kingdom outcomes is by Patti Garibay, the Founder and Executive Director of American Heritage Girls. With over 30 years of youth ministry experience, Patti is known as an advocate for girls and for the importance of their understanding of their identities in Christ. She has been named as one of the ‘Faithful 40’ by American Family Association, named as a West Chester’s Woman of Excellence, and has appeared on hundreds of media outlets, including Parenting Teens Summit, Dr. James Dobson’s My Family Talk, FamilyLife, the Blaze, and the Harvest Show.
Patty participated in the CLA Outcomes Academy Online module: CCNL1 Leadership. She is enrolled Christian Leadership Alliance’s Credential Christian Nonprofit Leader (CCNL) program. In this post, she graciously shares the course reflection she submitted after session two, which focused on Steward Leadership.
Kingdom outcomes occur when the Holy Spirit’s appointment is met with steward leader obedience.
Because the Holy Spirit influences Kingdom outcomes, they are a direct reflection of the teachings of Jesus Christ. When a ministry fully embraces the power of the Holy Spirit and the teachings of Jesus Christ, the ministry brings glory to our Father. As a steward of the American Heritage Girls ministry, it is my prayer and my intention to continually focus on Kingdom outcomes.
The founding of the American Heritage Girls came as a calling from the Holy Spirit. New to my faith journey, I was uncertain that the calling could actually be to me and for me. I felt less than, unskilled, unworthy and certainly incapable of the journey and the work it would take to create the God honoring ministry for which I felt His calling.
The struggle was real. My self-doubt trumped the Holy Spirit’s calling on many days but ultimately there became a point of complete surrender. The Lord’s faithfulness and unyielding tenacity would not let me wallow in my failure to believe. He gently revealed His “tapestry”- His Story that He wanted as part of a ministry to girls. He brought fellow believers around me that were willing to take up the yoke and plow the fields alongside me. These ministry partners had no idea of what the future held, they were just obedient and said “yes.” Sharing the plowshare lightened the burden and helped each of us to see glimpses of the “tapestry”. This did not mean that every day I saw the beauty the Lord had in mind. Rather there were too many days, weeks and even years that all I could see were the knotted threads on the back side of the cloth that represented my self-doubt and my failures.
In order to break my sense of identity, I had to grow closer to Him. I had to know the true person of God through His Son, Jesus Christ to understand who I was and whose I was. Spiritual immaturity was not an option, pabulum was not a food choice, I needed solid food and my crawling needed to become a stride. Regular bible study and reading was in order. Suck it up buttercup, I said to myself, the Lord has called you to something important and it is time to stop wallowing in your disbelief and trust in His plan.
Striving for Kingdom outcomes is not a one and done activity – it is a journey that steward leaders continue to experience each and every day. It is a conscious decision of the mind, heart and soul – all of which must be engaged to this end in order for one’s focus to be unrelenting. Discipline is required, desiring Kingdom outcomes is not natural to man and that is one of the many reasons I yearn to achieve them.
The three areas of Kingdom outcomes acquisition most needing my attention are: creating intentional listening and discerning processes to attune to the Spirit, create ways to measure success in terms of faithfulness to our Lord Jesus Christ and identify where you are building personal kingdoms and take action against it.
Focusing on Kingdom outcomes takes work. There are three that truly demand my attention – discerning God’s voice, following His command and protecting against creating man-made kingdoms. Once a believer can discern the voice of the Lord, they must act in obedience and faithfulness to it. My intense love for the Lord demands obedience despite what might be considered a “cost.” For me it is all part of being a Christ follower. If one does not allow the Lord to lead and follow His direction through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, one cannot be called a Christ Follower.
Creating an intentional listening and discerning process has been an interesting project. I believe I have come upon some effective strategies for discerning His voice, strategies I have longed to articulate but never spent the time writing them down
My process of discerning the voice of the Holy Spirit includes the following:
- The voice will acknowledge the sovereignty of Jesus
- The fruits will be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control
- The feeling of love will envelope the message
- The message will be aligned with Scripture
- The message will glorify God
- The message will be pure and create a feeling of life and hope
- Spiritual friends and mentors will agree with the message
- The message will not tell you to rush into it blindly
- The message will not create anxiety, unsettledness or exhaustion
- The message will not include condemnation or make me feel guilty
A humble steward leader who focuses on Kingdom Outcomes does not build her own kingdoms as she is to serve in only one – that of God the Father. Areas that leaders must build moats around in order to serve the Kingdom of Heaven include EGO. This is an area that one can easily fall into the water. When one is a founder or leader of a membership ministry, the members may have a “pop star” allegiance to their leader. We must always remember not to edge God out with our egos but continually point to the One who made the ministry possible and continues to allow it to thrive. Humility is one of the most important attributes a leader can possess and it is integral in stewarding ministries.
Release of ego and the need for humility allows for founders to live a life of stewardship rather than ownership. Without the focus on who we are and whose we are, it would be easy to act like an owner, not a steward.
These aforementioned personal kingdoms are built on shifting sand and will never allow for the bedrock necessary for sustainability for generations. To serve in the fields, equally yoked with ministry partners that embrace the plowshare is where I want to be now and until the Lord calls me home.
Christian Leadership Alliance’s Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader (CCNL) program is designed to promote biblical principles and professional standards in Christian nonprofit organizations. This program exists because Christian nonprofits need leaders who have proven expertise and certified excellence in their professional fields. If you currently lead or aspire to lead in a nonprofit ministry, we encourage you to enroll.
Start the CCNL in the Fall term of the Outcomes Academy Online.
What is Christian Leadership Alliance?
Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.