I really liked the viewpoint of The Longview—to approach whatever ministry you are in with the attitude that you will be there “for the rest of your professional life.” Of course, God can change your assignment at any time, but I think the approach of assuming you are wherever you are for the long term is spot on.
As I went through the book, I realized that I take that viewpoint for granted. Everywhere I have ministered I have assumed I would be there for the long haul and have not looked for other opportunities. However, I haven’t usually thought of that in an intentional way.
In other words, I haven’t prayed, planned, and worked with the mind-set that I was investing for the next 10 to 20 years or more. It’s been an assumption, but when I found myself being intentional about it—bringing it to the forefront of my mind—it affected me in surprising ways. I found adopting a longview perspective quite energizing, and, in some ways, thinking through this assumption decreased stress. I didn’t feel like I had to get everything sorted and moving right away. I can build intentionally over time, which allows for more depth, quality, and patience with the process.
I also found the author’s insights on the ego-driven leader vs. the statesman to be spot on. I have seen both types of ministers over the years I have been in ministry, and I think it is one of the most important distinctions we can make. Ego-driven leaders think they are smarter or better than others. They would seldom say that out loud, but it is apparent in the way they relate and how they make decisions. Statesmen, however, are different. They are secure in themselves and don’t feel a need to prove anything to others; they try to minimize the distance between themselves and their followers without giving up their authority and responsibility; they seek to broaden access to themselves rather than create false barriers to keep people at a distance.
I have known some leaders like that, and without exception, they have had the greatest effect on me and on a large number of people. They have a proven character that allows people to trust them and to follow them without fear. I aspire to be that kind of person and that kind of leader.
So, do you take a longview perspective and approach to your ministry? What difference has that made for you and those around you?