Magnify Your Leadership Potential

I was three years old the first time anybody clued in to the fact that I did not mind standing up in front of a crowd and taking charge. It was a Sunday school pageant and I was convinced my friend Sharon needed me to straighten out her dress, so I turned around in front of everyone and took care of things.

As a young girl, discovering my possible potential came through simple acts: Like the times I would lock myself in the bathroom and give speeches to my reflection in the mirror while my sister banged on the door. “Krista, what are you doing in there? Are you talking to yourself? You are so weird!”

The early signs of my hard wiring were tempered by the fact that it was 1970 and my dad was pastor of a little tiny Baptist church. In that community, a young woman’s ministry potential was defined by playing the piano and teaching Sunday school and I happily obliged on all accounts. But bottom line -  circa 1970 - within the church world, “women in leadership” was an oxymoron.

Historically, cultural norms ebb and flow and change over time, and I have come to the conclusion that I must refuse the temptation to look back and waste a tear or a sigh over “woulda coulda shoulda”.  Because ultimately, regardless of cultural norms, every circumstance and avenue of possibility that we pursue shapes our narrative for the magnification of either ourselves or our Creator.

Pursuing our potential in Christ is an act of worship that acknowledges God as both Giver and Recipient of our possibilities, no matter where we land on the grand timeline.

You see, despite what felt like stymied possibility in my young life, God’s plan for the expression of my acts of worship superseded my environment. And the proof of this is found in the pages of Scripture. God makes a way where none exists:

Isaiah 43

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

If you believe that this is true of the One who formed you, then it is imperative this truth inform the lens through which you view yourself. He:

  1. Calls us by name,
  2. Declares our belonging, and
  3. Takes us on a journey through the impossible.

Over the years I wrestled with the possibilities; the “woulda coulda shouldas” of my life. However, my mind always turns back to a moment in my life when I was 15. I had thrown a stick into the fire at camp -and not just any stick: It was a stick that, in its surrender to the flames, acknowledged that my potential belonged to Christ. I did not have a hot clue as to what God had in store for me. I only knew one thing: Significant potential could only be reached by offering my possibilities to the One to whom I belonged.

What do I want you to know? I want to challenge you with what I have come to discover: Your potential is not defined by the outputs of your life. Output relates to “what we do” and is measured in activity and metrics.

Rather, your potential in seen in the outcomes of your life. Outcome refers to “what difference is there” and is measured in impact, transformation and purpose

God has a clear understanding of your potential and of your outcomes. He gets you more than you get yourself. He sees your possibilities despite your deficiencies.

We often get stuck because we allow our circumstances, our insecurities, and our cultural indoctrination to define our potential.  When we turn our attention back to Scripture, we see our potential is defined by what God thinks of us and what we can accomplish with Him by our side. Your potential has everything to do with the impact you will make when you show up in other people’s lives with vulnerability, purpose, and authenticity.

Here’s the key:  God only requires you show up. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” You see, the results are up to Him; the response is up to you.

He has the power to break through your shame, hurt, distrust, and insecurity, your lack of faith in Him and in yourself. Despite what you have been told, where you have failed in the past, or the obstacles you are too tired to climb over, this truth remains constant: God says to you: “Everybody wanted you, and I got you”.

Potential has nothing to do with perfection, environment or qualification; it has everything to do with reaching beyond your self-imposed limits and taking a risk rather than settling for “woulda coulda shoulda”. Your potential is found in surrendering your life to the One who gave it to you.

And full surrender has no regrets.

#leadership #outcome #output #truepotential


By Krista Penner


Krista enjoys life with her family in Mission, BC. She is actively involved in Leadership Development for Fellowship Pacific and in that role is privileged to travel across BC helping churches develop leaders. When not speaking or writing, Krista loves to spend time in her kitchen. Cooking is a passion that she pursues, even reading cookbooks like they are novels! She is married to Jerome and together they share three great kids, Linden, Erika and Marty.


Anna Koehn