Pioneering Leadership: “I Want More. Continuous Improvement. This isn’t Enough,” Part 1

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Pioneering leaders, especially apostles and prophets who function in foundational leadership roles, tend toward a specific set of motivations. These motivations can eclipse other vital aspects of the kingdom while serving to move the whole pile forward in essential ways. Pioneering leaders should be intentional about their weaknesses, making themselves accountable for how others receive care and consideration, and instituting measurements that help them responsible for their high-energy, out-spoken, risk-taking adventurous spirit.

Pioneers Want More

The “adventurous” part moves the kingdom into expansion, builds upon foundations, and provides needed momentum that will produce broader cultural influence and impact. Without it, the Ecclesia tends to set up subcultures instead of confronting cultures, and apostles and prophets tend to develop their own wagon trains toward the horizons without conscious thought for the whole territory about to be settled. They are long-sighted about adventure and risk-taking but short-sighted about how their blueprints or maps fit into a broader blueprint or territorial map.

Their adventurous nature produces a feeling in others that they can never do enough or be enough. It leaves others feeling that their previous and present ‘best’ is inadequate; they may despair and quit because they feel they can never keep up. They may look for their own private settler’s cabin or squat on someone’s else track of land. Pioneers live by the rules of the frontier, so other tends to feel that the rules keep changing and they can’t figure out what behavior is normal. They feel like they don’t fit in.

So, pioneers need to develop some “safe zones” for others in their assignment to experience a sense of “this is enough if I were to stay here forever, never go on.” This should never be seen as people “staying behind” but experiencing the sense of accomplishment that pioneers don’t really require. Pioneers feel accomplishment in “more.” Others feel accomplishment with an appreciation of what they have gained to this point. They should be allowed to experience that sense of accomplishment thoroughly. If not, they may tend to develop ingratitude or “take things for granted” because they do not have time or safety to savor and experience these things at their own pace. Pioneers experience things more quickly than other people do.

One way to create safe zones in pioneering leadership would involve pioneers establishing pioneering settlements, like apostolic resource centers, to which the pioneers themselves come return. That is, the settlements are part of the supply lines necessary to pioneering and to others who are part of the greater pioneering assignment. These pioneering settlements should not be only for pioneers, in other words, because pioneers alone will outrun their supply lines or simply open new territory that no one settled upon. It is a question of pace, function, and motivation.

Within the ARC, settlements should be designed and defined to accommodate settlers so that they can remain part of the greater pioneering enterprise, not separated from pioneering but integral to it.

Pioneers are Call Conscious

Pioneers also tend to be calling conscious about their identities so that they feel most comfortable when they and other people clearly see who they are. This isn’t about titles, per se, but about function that fulfills assignment. That is, pioneers wish to be called “pioneers,” and the designation is more than a label. They laugh at the use of the term for entertainment purposes. “Pioneer” means something to them that is personal and part of their identities. This can cause them to fall into painful processing of being misunderstood, but usually they are simple too focused upon what is next to get caught up in that for very long. They will tend to walk away from people who “don’t get it,” even to a fault, by dismissing them if they don’t understand what a “pioneer” is doing.

Obviously, this isn’t helpful in developing a territory since pioneers need more than expansion to build something. They need more than a consciousness of their calling, but they remain dominated by it. People will appreciate that level of passion but they will also tend toward the feeling that they are invited to follow you in your own adventure more than establish themselves in their own callings. They may see your behavior as ego-centric, “it’s all about you,” and “what’s in it for me?” That is, they may develop a Judas condition of heart: “What’s in this for me?” When this happened with Jesus, the Pioneer, it wasn’t because of any failure upon His part, of course, but a failure upon Judas’ part. The observation remains valid in that pioneer create a tendency to push people who are selfish toward greater selfishness; the pioneer seems self-absorbed in his mission and the person already tending toward selfish ambition falls further into scratching out something for himself. Pioneering behavior will surface Judas motivations in other people more quickly and apparently than other kinds of leaders.

Pioneers are very focused, high-energy, out-spoken, so their behaviors tend to diminish the focus, energy, and words of others. So, pioneers need some quiet nights around the campfire with others, listening without dominating the conversation, having sessions without a “here’s what we are doing next” agendas. Pioneers resist such meetings to their own hurt.

The leadership structures must encourage others to develop their own callings. The ARC must include opportunities for people to invest in themselves in the sense of investing in their preparation and positioning to fulfill personal purpose while at the same time remaining fully integrated in the pioneer effort to expand the kingdom of God. The leadership structures should provide a supply line, a training center, an equipment development depot, and a safe place for those who need to step back from activity because of legitimate crises in their lives. They shouldn’t need to unplug from the assignment in order to acquire what they need to remain fully functional as part of the pioneering team.

They should have opportunities, created by them or for them to function in their own calling while pursuing personal expansion as part of the greater territorial blueprint or map. While they are not pioneers and may not have a good grasp of the whole territory and what comes next, they should be part of the sequential steps taken to take and possess the land. If not, they will not continue to thrive as part of the pioneering enterprise. They are, after all, just as accountable to God for their own callings as the pioneer.

Pioneers Demonstrate through Action

Risk-taking pioneers have a clear picture of finished product, thus they see success more than failure as the future outcome. In this way, they may neglect vital details or delegate them without proper followup. Others with them, who receive this delegated follow through responsibility, may feel neglected or taken for granted. The pioneer values the end product much more than the details required to produce success. Pioneers have much less consideration of failure in their minds. Their problem-solving tends to be positive in the sense of obstacles to overcome while others tend to see problem-solving as end products they entitled “success.” Therefore, they see their “successes” ignored in the pioneer’s eyes. They feel passed over and taken for granted.

Pioneers demonstrate their leadership through action. They take action steps to demonstrate their leadership and to provide direction through demonstration. However, pioneers do this easily because they feel that shifting, adjusting, and adapting while on the run is easy. Others do not. Shifting suddenly to adapt seems jarring to them, creates a sense of insecurity about the planning, and causes them to question the direction the pioneer is taking because it feels like the adjustment is too spontaneous.

They wonder, “Has the pioneer really thought this through? Seems like the pioneer is all over the place with this action. Shouldn’t I have a more complete picture of the process so I can evaluate it and give my opinion? Why isn’t the pioneer asking for my input on these changes since I’ve set all these details in place to support his line of march?”

Apostles move where prophets sometimes analyze. Prophets tend to massage the message to the point of studying minutia while apostles take the revelation and run with it. Apostles tend to see the land while prophets tend to see the hearts. So, apostles tend to act with considerable optimism that people will simply adjust to mid-course corrections with the same flair with which they adapt to new circumstances. Others do not adapt so quickly, and prophets tend to see the hearts and consider the hearts of people. Prophets can jump to conclusions that either the apostle has outrun the people or the people are dragging their feet. Good communication between apostle and prophet will clarify the communication process and pace of the progress so that people are fully integrated into it. While it may not be possible to make everyone feel equally secure about changes, pioneers tend to feel that people will eventually feel better about them, recognize their good decisions. Poor pioneering leadership will assume people should just go home or go away if they aren’t made of the same stuff as the pioneers.

Don Lynch

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