The Great Tension


Leading More Like Jesus

This special 25th anniversary article, written by Arrow leader Kirk Giles, describes the tension of leading effective ministry and seeking first the Kingdom of God. Think about ways you could incorporate this resource into conversation with your board or leadership team, and share it with them.

As leaders, we believe in what we do – we believe that people will be in a better place if they experience our ministry. This belief drives us to do more, reach more, and be more effective. Every leader I have ever met has the passion and desire to grow the reach and impact of their ministry efforts and programs.

With this desire to accomplish more, there is a perceived need to hire more staff or get more volunteers, or raise more money. One day, we may wake up to the reality that we are leading a machine that needs to be constantly fed and maintained. Our focus may become how to make sure our organization or program survives, is maintained, or is taken to the next level of growth.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this reality, unless we have lost sight of what Jesus said we are truly to be seeking.

In Matthew 6:33, Jesus taught us to “Seek first the Kingdom of God.” In context, Jesus was talking about how our fear of not having enough money to take care of our needs or wants could prevent us from following Him. In this passage, there is a powerful message for leaders who want to lead more like Jesus.


To seek something is an indication of initiative and pursuit. It is not passive in any way. To seek “first” exemplifies the focus of thought and priority in a decision and action that is taken. To seek the Kingdom of God first provides the leader with a much bigger perspective than the reach and impact of your own church, organization, or ministry.

As leaders who want to lead more like Jesus, our first pursuit – our first question – our first priority – needs to be framed by this question: “How will the Kingdom of God win?”

This sounds easy, and it sounds obvious. But if you stop to consider the big decisions and the everyday decisions you make, you will quickly discover how seeking first the Kingdom may begin to rub against building your organization the way you want, or even the way you feel you need to. What if God wants you to get smaller? What if someone else in the Body of Christ can do it better than you? What if someone else is already doing it? What if seeking first the Kingdom of God means I need to step up to something I don’t feel comfortable with or think we have the capacity to accomplish?

Jesus makes us a promise: All of the things that we are concerned about losing, or not having, will be added to us – IF we seek first the Kingdom of God!

May God give us all the humility, courage, and faith to be this type of leader.


  1. What does it mean to seek first the Kingdom of God?
  2. What fears come to mind when you think about seeking first the Kingdom of God?
  3. What steps can you take to adjust your decision-making to start with the question: “How will the Kingdom of God win?”

Kirk Giles - Picture 1

Kirk Giles, who completed the Arrow Leadership Program with Class 16, serves as the President of Promise Keepers Canada – a national ministry focused on seeing every man becoming, growing, and living as a disciple of Jesus. Kirk and Shannon have been married for 21 years and have four teenage children.