This is certainly one of the most asked question in leadership. If you want to have a lively discussion in a leadership context, just ask this question and watch the room light up. In the end, when it is all said and done, you will probably have a divided audience. Nature or Nurture? Perhaps the right answer is “Yes.” There is a little of both in every leader.
How About the Eight Core Values: Nature or Nurture?
If the best leaders who are changing the course of history live and lead by Eight Biblical Core Values, it helps us to learn if they are natural to us or we have to nurture them. My growth in them depends on the answer. If they are pure “nature” and some are just born with them, there isn’t much we can do about it. If, on the other hand, they are nurtured traits, I have the responsibility to develop them. What if every core value has an element of “nature,” being revealed to us by the Spirit of God Himself, while at the same time being something that must be nurtured? Let’s see what we can find in each core value:
Intimacy with God. It’s God’s grace that call us to Him, but Intimacy requires an intentional decision to seek God, to hunger and thirst after His face. Intimacy is further nurtured through the consistent practice of the spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, study of Scripture, obedience, and others.
Passion for the Harvest. It is a natural outcome of my relationship with God and comes from the Father above. At the same time, it can and must be developed through an awareness of the lost world around us and a commitment to Christ’s command to go and make disciples of all nations.
Vision comes from God, but its execution requires the discipline of goalsetting, the art of mobilization and resilience to overcome obstacles.
Cultural Relevance doesn’t come naturally, because we are, by nature ethnocentric. It requires openness and discipline to listen before speaking, learning before teaching. Before we can “make converts to Christ,” we must experience our conversion “to them,” as Peter did before his visit to Cornelius in Acts 10.
Family Priority. My family is a gift from God, but how much it is a priority depends on a personal decision and discipline to nurture my family relationships.
Faithful Stewardship is clearly the result of a personal decision and discipline to manage God’s resources entrusted to us for His glory.
Integrity is also the result of a commitment to integrity and to accountability. Human nature is sinful and corrupt, the very opposite of integrity. It takes an intentional effort and proactive discipline (nurture) to guard our holiness and integrity and to finish well.
As a covenant relationship, leadership is the result of a vital relationship between God and the leader. The Father reveals and imparts the seed of these core values to every Biblical leader, who is then responsible for nurturing them through intentionality and discipline. In the end, leadership is a gift of God’s grace. To be called to influence others to God’s agenda is a privilege we must steward faithfully, developing ourselves to our greatest potential.