I was having a conversation with Matt, our Executive Pastor of Ministries, this week. Matt has elevated over the years. It has been an incredible journey to watch. But in his new role his leadership is being stretched. He is no longer a leader of followers, but now a leader of leaders. This is an enormous leap, but one he is rising to. At one point I said, "You need to launch a podcast called Virgin Leadership." Yep, I said it.
Most podcasts are produced by the already arrived. What about a podcast that helps those who are in the middle of the trenches of leadership learning?
I listen, occasionally, to some Christian Leadership podcasts, but most of them are talking you up to their leadership instead of embracing your leadership uniqueness, using your skillset, and following your journey. Let me be clear, myself included, most leaders want you to replicate their ideas, style, and concepts. Hear me loud and clear: You were made to be you!
"This is what you must do."
"This is what success looks like."
"You need to do these four things."
Most leadership conferences, podcasts, and trainings are more prescriptive than descriptive. Leaders want you to prescribe to their success because it still sells books. I think we, as leaders, should be more descriptive than prescriptive.
"This is what God is saying to me, what is He saying to you."
"Here are a few ideas that we have tried."
"I have failed trying that, but hey give it a shot."
To all those who are just starting, or are early in their leadership, pray, seek God, and ask Him for wisdom. The Bible declares, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking" (James 1:5). It is often easier to subscribe to a podcast than to wait on God. More leaders spend time reading books instead of seeking the heart of God. Now, none of those things are bad, but true wisdom for your context comes from God. Solomon asked God for wisdom and he became the wisest man who ever lived (next to Jesus, of course).
DON'T REPLICATE - ORIGINATE
Be who God made you to be. Yes, read, study, & question, but ultimately you are a one-of-a-kind leader. Be you! What you do and how you do it may not work on Long Island, NY, but it may where you live! Remember, context is king. And every leader has a different context and calling. Be the original God made you to be. I know it will take more time to ask God for direction, but I promise it will be better in the long run. Create a new style, a new paradigm.
REFUSE THE HYPE OF THE URGENT
I have served on church staffs where we made radical changes after every conference we attended. It was like the flavor of the month. Several on staff would joke after a conference, "How long before we become _______________." The hype of the urgent is about getting you emotional - because the best buyers on the planet are the most emotional. They buy books on emotions. They subscribe to a gym on emotions, but never go. Just seek God. I promise He knows what He is doing and what you are called to do.
Every virgin leader will make mistakes. I have made more mistakes than experience success. To be honest, there are many days I stumble my way into a good idea. Ever been there? Failure is truly the womb of success. The truth is mistakes are one of the greatest teachers on the planet.
"Failure isn't fatal, but failure to change might be" - John Wooden
ENJOY THE JOURNEY
In the early days of ministry I enjoyed every moment. And then some success came - and with success came the pressure to remain successful. But about 3 years ago I embraced something more than success - significance. I want to impact people. I want to inspire their dreams and goals. And the more pressure I have released the more pleasure I have found again in ministry. I skip meetings. I delegate. I work from home - a lot. After 26 years of ministry I am enjoying the journey. I don't enjoy everything I experience, but the journey has been mind-blowing.
So, to all those who are just starting out, seek wisdom from God more than anyone else. And for those who have been leading long, let a new generation emerge. I have an immense amount of confidence in the virgin leaders God is raising up across this world.
I am not sure if Matt is reading this, but if you are, I just made it public. Now, go launch that podcast, "Virgin Leadership."