Leadership development isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. The art of leading has to be practiced, but it also has to be developed and deepened through training and education. When we neglect training, our leadership will eventually slide toward what is comfortable to us, rather than what is required by our context. When that happens, we can get lazy and eventually will become ineffective. This is especially true for ministry leaders.
Last week I took two days away from the office to attend the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit. It’s the first time I’ve been and it was incredible. Sure, stepping away from the computer for a couple of days has a price attached to it. I can tell you emphatically, the Summit was worth the cost (which was a bargain since I attended locally) and the time. I left the Summit feeling more deeply connected with Christ and energized to face the reality of ministry leadership, it’s toughness.
In reflecting on the experience, I had five take aways:
- I’m glad to work with a ministry that values leadership development. InterVarsity has made significant investment in developing leadership programs for its staff. The leadership development experiences I have had in InterVarsity–especially over the last two years–have been phenomenal.
- Leadership is like the tires on my bicycle–it has to be pumped up. Every time I get on my bicycle, I check the pressure and give them a couple of pumps. The activity of riding causes tires to lose air pressure over time. Likewise, the act of leading causes us to lose passion or to lose focus. Its critical that we invest in opportunities to recharge our batteries.
- Leading takes immense courage. Bill Hybels’ opening address was on the courage to lead. In it he said, “Too many leaders abort God’s vision secretly–out of fear that it is too risky.” Ouch.
- Leading isn’t just about vision. Joseph Grenny shared that casting a vision for something is only one of six ways in which influence happens. In fact, by itself vision is rarely enough to bring about lasting change. It needs to be supported by social structures and reinforcement.
- Stepping into leadership is an act of vulnerability. Brene Brown shared that stepping into leadership is stepping into vulnerability.
The Summit experience was so intense, so full, that I’ve blocked out time for the next week to work back through my notes and draw more lessons and actions that I need to take in light of it.
How do you prime your leadership pump?