Leadership is a series of steps.
It’s not a destination, just a journey.
When I think of my first steps, they kind of started as a series of what I might consider ‘hopeful’ steps. I hoped I would get a way with this. I hoped I wouldn’t fall flat on my face. I hoped I wouldn’t mess up. I hoped some kids would turn up. I hoped they would come back next week. I hoped that some might actually learn something.
It took a boat load of trusting in God. Of putting my very simple, unformed faith in God to use. I was scared, daunted by the prospect of it being me out the front, of having to talk and be a youth leader. I did not have a clue what I was doing.
We called it JC’s. I didn’t pick it. At least I don’t think I did. I don’t think it was in anyway named after me. More some play on ‘Just Christians’ or some kind of idea. It was 1989. There was even cheese back then, I just didn’t know it was. I think I thought it was cool.
What have I discovered on the journey?
Leadership steps take courage.
Leadership steps take faith.
Leadership steps take time.
One massive thing I have learned about leadership is that to be a leader means being willing to take the steps. They are not always easy. If the first one feels tough, then I guarantee that there will be ones in the future that feel tougher. But that is leadership.
You have to be willing to make a plan for the steps you are about to take. Don’t just launch in without some thought, some kind of preparation. Think of the cost. John Maxwell talks about how leaders have to ‘give up to go up’, to sacrifice and I’ve experienced that quite often. The thing about steps is once you have taken one and feel like you’ve mastered the art of taking them, something comes along that tests your leadership and you find yourself stumbling, falling, failing maybe. Been there. Done that.
I have messed up in probably every way possible when it comes to leadership. Others would be more qualified to tell you how. If I have ever upset you, then I’m sorry. Take it from me, it wasn’t deliberate, I was just trying my best, taking a step. The biggest test is often found in how you respond to the mistake, whether you learn and grow or alternatively feel that leadership isn’t really for you. I’m hopeful that as a leader I am at least making progress.
A key aspect to taking steps for me in my leadership roles is keeping my walk with God right. Not always mastered this. In those early days I was definitely more ‘titled’ as leader, rather than living with what I would now consider those leadership essentials. Isn’t that the journey though? If it were a destination I would have had to give up long ago. Gods belief in me IS always greater than the belief I may have in myself or that others may have in me. Where my sin has abounded, His grace has abounded so much more. I am thankful for that truth. I’ll be honest, there would have been times when the next step probably would not have happened if Gods grace had not been available.
What were your first leadership steps like?
What have you learned on the way about the leadership journey?
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