In preparing our recent issue of our newsletter, Side-by-Side, I had the opportunity to review literally hundreds of photos of IBL’s twenty-five years of ministry to thousands of leaders across the U.S. and around the world (one of my favorites is shown at the left). Since my own personal involvement with IBL dates from 1994— when Russ came to the church I attended in upstate New York to facilitate us in a long-range planning process—many of these photos brought back wonderful personal memories of God’s work in my churches and in the lives of my friends. While the photos prior to 1994 did not connect to my personal memories, they did bring to life the many stories Russ has shared with me about the various challenges faced by leaders over the years and how God used His Word, practically applied, to bring hope, clarity, direction, and vision. What a blessing to see His faithfulness!
For twenty-five years, IBL has been a powerful, biblically grounded voice in the lives and ministries of God’s leaders. As Russ and I, along with the entire IBL Staff and Board of Directors, prayerfully consider how to advance the ministry of IBL for even greater reach and impact in the next twenty-five years, there are some foundations that must not change if we are to continue receiving God’s blessings.
First, the power of this ministry rests not in our own words, experience or skills, but in the truth and wisdom found in His Word, so we will continue to uphold the practical, faithful application of biblical principles and precepts to the real-world issues faced by God’s leaders. This is absolutely vital to everything we do.
Second, in 1990 God led the Board of Directors of IBL as they developed the vision that has motivated our ministry for the past twenty-five years (see our vision in the timeline below). That vision is a key focus for each of us at IBL and it will continue to form the basis of our ministry going forward. We will remain faithful, by God’s strength, to carry forward and make a difference in the lives of His leaders…we are burdened to do so.
Third, IBL’s coaching, consulting, counseling, and training ministries define a framework for leadership development, enabling us to engage in a discipleship-like process with God’s leaders. For that process to be effective, it requires extensive one-on-one engagement over an extended period of time, discussing together the practical, messy issues of life and ministry. We are committed to developing long-term, iron-sharpening-iron relationships with the leaders we serve, to help them advance in life and leadership and for God to receive glory.
As God leads us forward in the coming years, these foundational aspects of IBL’s “ethos” will not change.
Will anything change in the years to come? Surely some things will. But any “changes” will be the result of faithfully taking natural, incremental steps in obedience to God’s leading. We have already begun to see God’s leading in recent months, based on what He has been revealing to us through the ministry doors He has opened for us in the past few years. God’s plans for us are always more rewarding than anything we could imagine for ourselves, and so we anticipate exciting days ahead. We’ll say more about these things in the days to come.
Success requires us to remain faithfully obedient to follow His direction for us, and so we continue to covet your prayers for us in that regard. We are forever grateful for your faithfulness to us.
Remaining faithfully obedient,