For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said,

“In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing,
And you said, “No, for we will flee on horses,”
Therefore you shall flee!
“And we will ride on swift horses,”
Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift.
One thousand will flee at the threat of one man;
You will flee at the threat of five,
Until you are left as a flag on a mountain top
And as a signal on a hill.

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.  

Isaiah 30:15-18



It seems we need to shift a few old-fashioned leadership paradigms. Setting aside the traditional overemphasis on strategic thinking and logical action, I say we opt in favor of what is best for the relationships we touch and the relational grace they require. Sure, the old approach works to an extent, but it is like putting low-grade fuel in a Scuderia Ferrari. A valuable Formula One car is not built to run on the cheap stuff. In fact, it will ruin the engine. Running on the GRACES of leadership, will show on the track.

If God is first in our lives and grace-based relationships matter to Him, we need to clean out anything in the system that is contaminated by the non-grace-based fuel of fear. In far too many ministry settings, the gunk of outdated leadership paradigms pollutes the lines—keeping the engine from running well. To be clear, we are not looking for perfection, but we are looking for persistence and consistency in applying the GRACES. Amidst the “Go! Go! Go!” mentality typical in our culture, you and I will find a different gear is in order. It is time to shift. The GRACES of leadership are just that: a downshift.

To God, our busyness is nothing more than noise—a revved engine with no muffler. With all we “do for God,” it is ironic, isn’t it? Stop long enough to remember what it was like for you when you first heard His call. Regardless of whether we were in a revival meeting or a monastic cell when it happened, there is one thing I know to be true: the authentic call of God on the life of a leader comes from a deep, shalom-centered space of grace. You’ll quickly notice, every gearshift required has one thing in common: a whole and quiet connection. For many reasons, our souls need undistracted, undisturbed space; this is true for everyone, especially leaders.

I can hear what you’re thinking: Ed, you don’t understand. . .

  • Strategic plans scream to be drafted.

  • Messages need to be written.

  • Teams require training.

  • To-do lists shout for checkmarks.

  • Worship music calls for rehearsals.


And still God whispers. Could it be He wants us to draw near?

Connecting quietly with God should be a leader’s top priority. For most leaders, this is a significant shift. The redirection requires hard brakes, and a downshift in order to make the turn. With all there is to do, it may seem counterintuitive, but if we want to be grace-based leaders, it must be our top priority. Why? Because from this lower gear of quieting, our lives and leadership gain peace, connection, and stability. Without quieting to connect, we lose time attempting to regain our sense of direction or get back into the right gear with God and others.


Learn how to make this downshift in your grace-based leadership by picking up a copy of The Weight of Leadership: How Codependency and Misplaced Mercy Undermine Life and Ministry.

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