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The Impact of One Decision By Scott Rodin

The One Decision Leaders Make that Drives Everything They Do

In my work as a consultant for not-for-profit organizations, I ask one question to start almost every consultation: “How do you define success?” I have found that this question more than any other helps define an organization’s mission, values, and motivations. The same is true for us as leaders. Each of us carries with us a definition of success for our life and leadership.

That definition impacts our attitudes, our actions, and every decision we make.

Defining Success

Chuck Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship, had a plaque on his desk for most of the years he ran the ministry. It read, “Not Success but Faithfulness.” It was a daily reminder to him that success in the kingdom of God was radically different than in the world. In fact, the idea of success itself had to be replaced by a radically new idea – the call to absolute faithfulness for followers of Jesus Christ.

The great challenge for us as steward leaders is that so often faithfulness as a follower of Jesus Christ will result in things that run absolutely counter to the world’s definition of leadership success. Scripture absolutely promises this. It tells us that in the kingdom of God we live by dying, receive by giving, lead by serving, become first by being last, and are exalted through humility.

Kingdom Success

It is, however, even more radical than that. Success defined in kingdom terms can be boiled down to this one simple definition: a life lived daily in an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is in this intimacy where our hearts are changed and our lives transformed, and faithfulness becomes our driving motivation in every area of our lives. That one decision about how success is defined, changes everything.

Without this intimacy we see counterfeit definitions of success as a leader. Our culture screams at us that success has to do with how fast we grow our organization, how much money we can raise or earn, the amount of power we wield, and the reputation we cultivate. These aberrant definitions seep their way into the kingdom of God and deceive leaders who try to weave them into their work. But they are antithetical to the way of the cross.

Are you willing to embrace kingdom values to such an extent that you will measure the success of your leadership solely and completely in terms of your faithfulness as a follower of Jesus, which is born from an intimate relationship with God?

When Jesus proclaims in John 10, “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly,” he is referring to this life of faithfulness. It is the life of a steward leader.

Your Decision

Are you living the abundant life of a steward leader today? It starts with an intimate relationship with God in Jesus Christ and a heart that yearns for faithfulness as the driving force behind everything you think, say, and do.

Here’s my challenge. Write your own one- to two-sentence definition for success. Consider the mental picture this definition creates, the image you hold of the ideal place you want to be in life. All of us are striving toward some picture of a life that is beyond the one we are living today.

  • How well does it align with the definition of success as absolute faithfulness as a steward leader?
  • Are you willing to identify those driving forces in your life that do not align with Kingdom values?

Pray about each one, asking that God would change your heart, as you grow deeper in your relationship with Him. Let that become your heart’s desire.


Dr. Scott Rodin as been in not-for-profit leadership and consulting for thirty-two years. He has authored fifteen books and has served as counsel to over 100 organizations across the U.S. and globally including colleges, seminaries, schools, churches, para-church ministries and other not-for-profit organizations. Visit his blog at The Steward’s Journey.


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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.

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