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Lead Vertically

by Craig Johnson

Changing one’s mindset is a challenge, but it’s one of the first obstacles faced by most leaders. Whether you serve on a team or lead the team, you come with attitudes that can prevent you from becoming the person God wants you to be.

Vertical leaders view the world from a different perspective.While they use conventional leadership tools, their primary concern is to see things from God’s perspective and help others discover what they were created to do. If you’ve ever wished you could help your ministry or organization thrive, but your heart has deflated and your mind is confused, then you are ready to see the world differently.

You are ready to become a vertical leader. Why? Because you are now at the place where God can use you, because your desperation is birthing God’s inspiration. You’ve stopped seeing things from everybody else’s perspective and now are open to see things from God’s perspective.

I tell my leaders that when you lose your mind, you should borrow God’s. We are not searching for the mind of leadership; we are searching for the mind of God. Vertical leaders have less interest in how others view a situation, but they care how God thinks about it.

To achieve success, one has to think unconventionally and believe for the impossible to become possible. Becoming a vertical leader starts with looking up and having the mind of God. What would God say here? How would God build this person? How would God respond in this situation?

“God Ideas” defy logic and position you to do what nobody else would have even considered. Great mountains are moved not because it’s logical but because someone chose to believe. When you hear a good idea you might say, “I wish I would of thought of that.” When you here a God idea you will say, “I would have NEVER thought of that.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Craig Johnson
Craig has served in full-time ministry for more than two decades. He is currently the Director of Ministries at Lakewood Church, the largest and fastest growing church in America, overseeing all pastoral ministries and staff. Most recently, Craig helped lead the team in the development of the Lakewood discipleship pathway “Connect, Grow, Serve and Give.” He also helped launch the Lakewood Internship Program as well as the Lay Ministry Program of Lakewood Church. Craig created Kidslife, the children’s ministry of Lakewood Church, which now operates in six different services in Spanish and English and has grown to over 4,500 children and more than 1,300 volunteers. In 2009, Craig launched the “Champions Club,” a state of the art facility for over 200 special needs kids that features a physical therapy room, sensory room, spiritual therapy room and an educational room. Craig is an advocate for special needs kids & families. Prior to coming to Lakewood Church, Craig served as the Children’s Pastor at Faith Community Church in California. He served as Co-chair for the Los Angeles Billy Graham Children’s Crusade. Craig is the creator of many programming tools for family ministry, including a new discipleship curriculum being launched by Kidmo in 2012. He is the author of a new book called “Lead Vertically: Inspire People to Volunteer / Build Great Teams That Last.” Craig and his wife of 22 years, Samantha, have three children: Cory, Courtney, and Connor.

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