The Leadership Journey
We encourage leaders to develop and share vision – the ‘what if?’ rather than just settling for the ‘what is’. People need to be envisioned and encouraged by the ‘what if’? if they are to take the first steps away from the ‘what is’.
However, there is a danger in vision casting that leaders would do well to be aware of and take steps to avoid: in focussing on the destination, the picture of ‘what if?’, there is a danger of overlooking the journey.
The journey is what lies between ‘what is’ and ‘what if’?.
- the desert that the Israelites had to cross
- the wall that they had to rebuild around Jerusalem
- the sacrifices they had to make when heeding Ezra’s challenge to return to the Promised Land and rebuild the Temple
Why does God always place a journey between the ‘what is’ and the ‘what if’?
Kingfisher Leadership news The journey can be transformational. It is the environment where we are tested and refined, making us ready for the destination.
The journey can be clarifying. On it, we are presented time and again with the question: ‘Is this worth it?’. How much do I want this vision to come to pass?
“ At this point many of His disciples turned away and deserted him.”
The journey can be refining. Not everyone who sets out on the journey with us will end it with us. No one who sets out on the journey will be the same by the end of it. We are refined along the way.
Some ‘sacred cows’ will be slain, some ‘excess baggage’ will be left behind, some attitudes that we thought were godly will be tested and found to not be from Him after all. The journey is there for us to learn, to grow, to be refined. For the leader, though, the journey has particular challenges. The leader is on the journey too and is, therefore, undergoing that refining process themselves, but they are also leading others on that journey and encouraging them to grow through that transforming, clarifying, refining process.
It can be a tough journey for a leader!
Points along the way and how a leader should respond:
Don’t forget the personal journey.
If you can’t lead yourself, you can’t lead others. You are either going to grow as a disciple and as a leader, or you are going to stagnate. You are not going to stand still. The journey you are leading others on will only be as successful as the journey you are leading yourself on.
Recognise the important balance of big picture vision and small wins.
If all that is focussed on is the end result, then people are going to get disheartened early on in the process. The end will seem no nearer than when you first saw it for a long time! The journey is made up of a whole series of ‘small wins’ – community growth, faith steps, discipleship maturity as the result of setbacks and so on. Celebrate the wins and see them for what they are: vital steps along the journey.
Understand and recognise the ‘low points’ in a journey.
• When the cost first becomes apparent
• When the journey is halfway done
• When reversals hit and people start wondering where is God in all this?
• When team mates abandon us
Leadership steps to manage the journey:
• Refocus when you hit a low point (Nehemiah 4:14a)
• Recognise that on this journey, the end does not justify the means. The point of the journey is to get us ready for the destination, not to compromise in order to reach the destination (Nehemiah 5:1 – 13)
• Trust through a personal walk of integrity, t h r o u g h c l e a r a n d a c c u r a t e communication, (Nehemiah 5:14-18)
• Realise that people need motivation that touches their personal lives (Nehemiah 4:14b).
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real focus is
The Exodus – the epic 40-year journey that took the Hebrews from being slaves in Egypt to entry into their own land as free people with a glorious future awaiting them.
The Exodus – more than just a journey, this was a transformational experience that would forever define the identity of that nation.
Why did it take then 40 long years and what were the lessons they learned along the way?
This was the journey that not only took the people out of slavery, but more importantly,
took slavery out of the people. What are the lessons they learned along the way and how does God take us on a similar journey today, as He transforms us from being slaves to sin, to being ready to enter the ‘Promised Land’ of Heaven?