I recently had an interesting experience.
A couple of weeks ago I was out on the lake with my fiance and her family spending some time breaking in their brand new boat. We had all the lake toys and I was excited to spend a little time on the wakeboard. Seeing as how this was a new boat we were all excited to see what it could and we all quickly learned no one knew the right way to pull a wakeboard. To top it off, we were all fairly new to the sport and no one had the knowledge to tell the driver the right way to pull.
I learned, after several hard face plants, faster is not always better. I also had the great privilege of learning having a small area in which to wakeboard is also painfully not fun. The constant turning either left you flying way outside of the wake, once again going to fast, or sitting on the inside of the wake which really isn’t a wake at all.
So, I googled it. I’m pretty sure you can learn just about anything when you do that. Who really needs school?
Anyway, the best way to be successful is to drive the boat at a consistent speed and as straight as possible for as along as possible. Sure enough, this was correct. After taking some tylenol, we hit the lake again. We found a place where we could drive straight, we lowered the speed and held a constant speed. We found that even those who had never been on a wakeboard could be successful when the captain of the ship did it right.
The success of the person behind the boat depends on the captain of the boat.
I’ve been doing a lot of praying, learning, and growing the last few weeks and I’ve begun to notice this idea does not just apply to wakeboarding, but to leading a team.
As the “captain” of the ship I need to pick a point across the proverbial lake and drive straight and consistent, undeterred by anything or anyone. Providing this environment allows my team to learn, grow, and eventually do back flips.
As a leader, If I’m constantly changing directions, turning the boat, and changing speeds there is no way my team can be successful.
I have been fortunate to work with some amazing leaders in my few years in ministry and it recently dawned on me what it was that made them so successful.
It was their vision. But it wasn’t just their vision. It was their passionate pursuit of the vision. It was their drive to reach their destination. It was their unhindered pursuit of what they knew they had been called to. The drove the boat, so to speak, straight and consistent. They didn’t turn to the left or the right and in the process their teams are doing back flips.
This vision wasn’t a number. It wasn’t a growth percentage. It wasn’t the budget or the facility. It wasn’t a full Sunday morning or accolades from the community.
It was real, genuine, life change. It was captives being set free. It was broken hearts being bound up. It was broken marriages being restored. It was sons being returned to their father and fathers being returned to their sons. It was people hearing the gospel for the first time. It was drug addicts stepping into grace and never being the same. It was children being raised to be a generation that stands up for what is right.
These things aren’t fancy vocabulary words or checklists and they aren’t always measurable. They are the beautiful story of God’s redemptive plan formed before the beginning of the world. These things are your story and my story.
And these leaders were people who lived and breathed it. They had their eyes fixed across the lake and they were driving the boat straight and true. They invited people to join the mission or to step aside.
Get on, or get out of the way.
I want to follow that leader. I want to be that leader.
Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down.”
They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” – Nehemiah 6:2-3, 9.
To all leaders, let us not be deterred. Let us not veer to the left or the right. We are carrying a great project and cannot come down.