The Pyramid of Maturity
The Pyramid is a shareable tool to help young leaders consider the foundations of their leadership
The Pyramid is a resource you can use to help new labourers and leaders. It’s designed to begin a conversation that helps that the recipient consider the foundations of their discipleship and leadership. Following the flow of Paul’s letter to the Colossians, The Pyramid visually demonstrates how any leader’s contribution is best made when it flows out of their competencies, which in turn flows from their character, then their convictions, and ultimately their relationship with Christ. The resource has additional questions to discuss when applying it to life, and a set of questions to help the recipient pass it on in turn.
Leader, Nottingham Navigators UK
Tim and his wife Beth are based in Nottingham with their menagerie of fluffy animals. Tim heads up NottinghamNAVS student ministry and enjoys coffee, running, film and death metal.
Every leader wants to make a difference
Every leader wants to make their best contribution to their organisation. To make a difference. To be effective where they are with the people around them.
But leaders inhabit paradox: The more people define your leadership by the contribution you make, the more the contribution you make defines your leadership, and ultimately: you.
For example, as a young leader, if you are given responsibility and you perform well, the reward will be more responsibility! If you’re good, your level of competence can outstrip your character’s ability to handle yourself in those situations. (More on this below)
So how can any of us be effective leaders (people who make their best contribution) without that contribution being our be all and end all, without that contribution defining us? More positively, how can we be set free to make our best contribution as leaders, whatever the circumstances?
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7)
Our leadership, our discipleship and our very lives are to be built on our response to Christ (‘just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord’) and our ongoing relationship with Christ (‘continue to live your lives in him’).
From this place comes deep assurance of our identity and the promise of healing for our brokenness.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2)
We set our hearts and our minds on things above, not earthly things. Our desires and beliefs are to be Convictions that shape our priorities. This can include our Convictions about the character of the Father, Jesus’ heart for the lost, the Spirit, the Word, the Church; and all manner of life issues.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature… put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator… Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:5,10,15)
These verses speak to the inner transformation of our Character that flows from our relationship with Christ and the Convictions we hold to. It involves our participation with God as we ‘put to death’ our old ways and ‘put on’ the new self, as we become more and more like the people God always intended us to be (‘in the image of its Creator’)
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:16)
The ‘one another’s of the New Testament beautifully describe the life of a Christian community.
Leaders are to be examples to their communities in their character, but they have additional Competencies they can deploy to nurture those they lead: teaching, admonishing, singing… and any of the other gifts of the Spirit they of the Spirit they have been given.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:16)
Whatever you do means the entire Contribution of the leader. In some ways it is the sum total of their leadership.
If a leader’s Competence is the tools they have at their disposal, their Contribution is the way they use these tools: among a certain time and culture and people group with a certain job God has asked them to do.
Secrets of the Pyramid #1
The most important parts of the leader’s life are unseen
Whether they like it or not, a leaders’ Character, Competence and Contribution are on show. But the foundations for these aspects of their leadership must be both Christ and gospel Convictions. The challenge is, it’s rarely urgent or ‘productive’ to work on these things.
As a leader, how are you doing in ensuring the unseen parts of your leadership are firm and secure?
Secrets of the Pyramid #2
Beware of your true foundations
Depending on the leader’s environment, different things may occupy a foundation upon which a relationship with Christ is built. That’s a scary truth. It could be the leader’s emotional wellbeing – does a relationship with Christ depend on the ability to ‘feel it’? Or perhaps it is a commitment to ‘rightness’ that has become ‘self right(eous)ness’ – where doctrinal correctness trumps the love of Christ
As a leader, what things are you most tempted to build your relationship with Christ upon?
Secrets of the Pyramid #3
Pyramids can be upside down
The most revealing facet of anyone’s leadership is what happens to that leader when they fail: when their Contribution falls short of what it should have been (due to a failure in Character or Competence). Leaders who build their pyramid upside down put themselves at great risk because their entire identity – their relationship with Christ – rests on the wrong thing.
As a leader, what’s at stake for you if your pyramid is upside down? How can you protect yourself against this?
Questions to help you pass it on
What strikes you most about the concept of ‘The Pyramid’?
Which blocks of your pyramid are you confident in?
Which are your unsure of?
What steps can you take to strengthen any of the blocks?
Who can help you?
Who can you help with this?
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