By Dag Heward-Mills
Everyone desires leaders who will know how to overcome superior enemies or overcome stalemates. These are good positive traits a good leader must be equipped with.
And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.
And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.
And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, “Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? Am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? Choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.”
“If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.” And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”
1 Samuel 17:2-10
The Philistines and the Israelites were engaged in a long battle in which neither could gain the upper hand. The Philistines had presented Goliath as the man to beat. If you were able to defeat Goliath then you won the war. The two sides stood across the valley looking at each other with neither being able to gain the upper hand.
There are many situations like that in the ministry and in life, where old problems remain for years and you are not able to break out into the next level. The new idea that broke the stalemate was a new and unknown warrior called David. This new warrior had a new weapon – a catapult. No one had used this weapon in a war and no one was expecting it. Goliath certainly was not expecting a little boy with six pebbles to approach him. He was taken off-guard and that was the end of the stalemate.
And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
SO DAVID PREVAILED OVER THE PHILISTINE WITH A SLING AND WITH A STONE, AND SMOTE THE PHILISTINE, AND SLEW HIM; BUT THERE WAS NO SWORD IN THE HAND OF DAVID. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
1 Samuel 17:48-51
In church growth, for instance, it is often difficult to cross the hundred barrier, the 200 barrier, the 500 barrier and the 1000 barrier. Your church may hover around a certain size for many years. Most pastors are locked in a stalemate. You cannot go forward and you cannot go backwards.
To break stalemates, you need to be led by the Holy Spirit to introduce new ideas that you have not used before. The old ways have not worked that is why you are in your situation. Continuing to do the same thing in the same way with the same intensity and expecting a change will be unfortunate. You need to think of a new approach to fight an old problem.
Sometimes the key you need is in a book. In that book you will find a new idea that may break the stalemate. That is why real leaders love books. They know that there could be a secret on a page that would make a difference to their whole lives. Indeed, today's Ghana must be in prayer that God continually provides us with leaders all round, who can overcome superior enemies or overcome stalemates.
Next week I will share a story of how a 1000-year long stalemate that was broken by a young man with some new ideas.