Monday, March 16, 2009

Week 1

Hi everyone - welcome to the summer leadership development blog!

Your “assignment” this week:
- Read the Preface and Chapter 1: What is Leadership? in the book I sent you. You are encouraged to highlight, underline, or take notes on the content - the book is yours to keep.
- AFTER you read the content and make your own observations, come back to this blog, read the thoughts I’ve written out below and respond to the questions I pose.

“I’ve watched leaders succeed, and I’ve watched us fail. The question has always been: what makes the difference?” (from the preface)

Trying to answer this question is really what the next few months are going to be about for us.
I think we can all look back at our own previous leadership experiences and identify times of failure. (I hope we can find success stories too!)

In looking at a few of my own leadership moments that I’d rather not remember, I observe that my failures have rarely been due to technical incompetence, or not being “expert enough” in whatever I’m leading towards. No, the common thread for me seems to be right where Graham defines it: shortcomings in the “so-called ‘soft-edged’ skills like developing trust, communicating with sensitivity, balancing intellect with intuition, and inspiring” those I have lead. I’m struck by his observation that developing these skills “tests your spirit as well as your mind, and challenges your ability to form positive relationships with those you lead.” Prophetic.

Reflection question #1: Think through some of your own past leadership experiences and see if this principle is true for you as well. Share some of your observations in your comments below.

“Leadership is the capacity to move others towards goals shared with you, with a focus and competency they would not achieve on their own.” (from chapter 1)

In Chapter 1 we’re presented with a number of statements about leadership and leaders which pit common assumptions against a more complete view:
- It’s not just giving directions – it’s liberating people to do what’s needed in the best possible way
- It’s not a set of rules to be followed, but an ability to build relationships
- Good leaders don’t depend on position for their authority – they depend on earning trust
- Good leaders don’t mandate good performance from those they lead – they inspire it.

Directions, rules, position and mandate vs. liberating, building relationships, earning trust and inspiring.

Reflection question #2: Does any of this blow your mind?? How is your current definition of leadership impacted by these statements? Also, what might you add to the list of expectations he presents on page 11? Or which of the ones he lists stand out most to you?

“Good leadership is often decisive in why some trips succeed and others fail.” (from chapter 1)

Graham makes this repeated distinction between what he calls “soft-edged” and “hard-edged” skills. He asserts that we spend most of our time and energy learning or teaching the hard-edged technical stuff and neglect the soft-edged skills.

I articulate this point in a slightly different way – perhaps you’ve heard me say that there’s a difference between leadership and management? I would also say that leadership is different from teaching. Now, leadership does involve both teaching and managing… but these two aspects deal with the specifics of a particular leadership environment, and I’d say the soft-edged stuff is transferable between all leadership environments. Competence at the specific skills you’ll be managing or teaching is therefore secondary to the principles of leadership, because good leadership will enhance and bring out the competencies of those around us.

Reflection question #3: How concerned / stressed are you about the specifics of leading a CTI summer team? Are you able to let that go for now and concentrate on this soft-edged stuff, or are those other concerns presenting an obstacle for you right now?

“Every time I head out with another leader, I learn something new.” (from the preface)

I was just sharing about this with Paul. This point is a really challenging one for us, because we’re all surrounded by other leaders, and, by nature of the fact that we are leaders, we’re all a bit competitive. This can result in some pretty significant power plays. The challenge is in recognizing that there is tremendous blessing to be had for ourselves and for whatever cause we lead towards if we will humble ourselves enough to learn from the leaders around us. And learning from other leaders doesn’t just mean observing their methods from the standpoint of a peer – it means submitting to them and following them.

Quick example: I went backpacking with Max Hering last October (you’ll get to meet Max this summer as he’ll be joining us as an intern.) I’ve been Max’s superior in every context I have known him in. He’s been a summer team member, a fulltime team member, a summer volunteer, and a summer leader… and he’s been my subordinate in every one of those roles. Now, I’m not a slouch when it comes to the outdoors, but I can’t hold a candle to Max. We never spoke about it directly, but there was a clear understanding that he was the leader on this trip. It felt a little weird at times, but submitting to his leadership and focusing my own leadership abilities on being a good follower contributed to a fantastic experience for both of us. It’s quite clear to me that the amount of respect we each have for the other is what made the difference.

Remember this:
- A good leader has the capacity to be the best kind of follower.
- Conversely, a good follower has the capacity to be the best kind of leader.

If leadership is “moving others towards goals shared with you” then why should we be prohibited from exhibiting good leadership as followers? Did you catch that one little line in the avalanche beacon story: “The rest of us hadn’t helped much as followers”? The more you understand about leadership, the more you should be expected to contribute towards the common goal, regardless of whether or not you are the leader specifically appointed for the moment.

Reflection question #4: How will you allow what you are learning about leadership impact how you live now as a follower?

I’m looking forward to everyone’s thoughts. Remember to check back throughout the week and read what everyone else has offered to the discussion!


  1. Question 1: I remember a particular instance when I saw this dynamic played out. I was in college (I was the hall director of an underclassmen, boys dorm) and I was confronted with a serious problem. I had to “bust” one of my best friends for an incredibly serious violation, which could have led to him getting kicked off campus and maybe even out of college. No amount of training in the logistics of Residence Life could have prepared me for that encounter. And our interactions that evening turned out to be a turning point, not only for his college career, but for his walk with the Lord and our friendship. None of those things could have happened if he didn’t trust that I was looking out for his best interest. The rule book said one thing, but my heart and my intuition said another, and the latter turned out to be the right option. I’m not saying that we throw out the rule book (in fact, he still had to face some serious consequences) but I’m just saying that the “soft-edge,” as Graham calls it, is more important than we often realize.

    Question 2: I think we often discount inspiration as an important part of leading. I have often found that it can help overcome some of the obstacles that we face as leaders. Here’s my confession: I’m rarely as confident as I appear to be. In fact, I’m usually not confident at all. BUT inspiring others both gives them confidence, and gives you confidence as well.

    If I had to highlight characteristics from Graham’s list on page 11, I would say that the four most important qualities listed (in my opinion) are: caring for others, being trustworthy, communicating well, and inspiring others.

    I think Graham leaves off the most important aspect of leadership though: servanthood. This is one area that I am constantly trying to get better at. I’m always looking for examples of servant leadership that I could incorporate into my leadership style. I can honestly say that I have learned something about what it means to be a servant leader from everyone in this forum.

    Question 3: I can remember freaking out the entire month leading up to my first overseas trip with Hong Kong. Not only was this my first overseas tour with CTI, but I was leading it, AND we had very little time to prepare (fall tour, recording a CD, etc.). When it came down to it, though, all of the logistical preparation that I did ended up not being important. I regret it now, that I didn’t work more on the soft-edge stuff, but I learned my lesson and that really helped me when I prepped to lead my second team to Singapore.

    Question 4: As I mentioned earlier, I am constantly learning how to be a better leader by watching all of you guys (and gals). I also learned that one of the only reasons I’ve had some success as a team leader is because I LOVE following a leader. There’s nothing easier for me than to get behind someone who is leading. I think it’s funny how much I crave followership at times. Yeah, I love leading, and I do it a lot. BUT there are just times when I want to just be able to respond to someone else’s initiatives, rather than create my own. It’s in those moments of following that I learn more and more about how to lead.

    I’m hoping to learn more and more from all of you through this experience and I am so looking forward to the insights you all have to offer. I know that I will walk away from this as a better leader because I have “sat at the feet” (virtually) of great leaders like you all.

  2. Alright, here we go:

    Question 1: The first example that came to mind for me when thinking about using the 'soft-edge' in leadership was from my second summer team- Australia 2005. It was my first time main leading a team. While I had the 'hard edge' side down pat, I was really worried that I was going to be called upon to use relational skills and aid people- I didn't think I was capable.
    One of the girls on my team had just recently quit smoking (actually, right before she flew to Willmar) and was struggling through her physical reaction to going cold turkey. In MN, she was able to abstain well enough since we were busy and on such a new team high it kept her distracted enough. Once we arrived overseas though, the combination of a new atmosphere, the honeymoon period wearing off, and the influence of some of our peers- well, she caved in. Unfortunately, she really beat herself up over it and her room mate didn't help in the matter at all. She came to me crying and ready to be sent back home for breaking the CTI rules- but even more, she felt like she was letting down God in a huge way. I realized at this moment that no amount of 'punishment' was going to do her any good- all it would do is reinforce the idea that she somehow had gotten into her head that she wasn't good enough for God. Instead, we took the time to talk through it all, figure out why she was really driven to continue her addiction, pray and speak with the team about her struggles and how we could help her and uplift her as a community/family. It was one of the harder points of leading that trip (which was filled with logistical/contact/other hard-edge issues. However, it was one of the best growing points for her, the team and me.

    Question 2: I can't say that these juxtapositions blow my mind, however they are something that I think we all need to be reminded of. Otherwise I know I run the risk of believing the common misconception that leadership is really only dependant on 'direction/rules/position/mandate' and the others are secondary and possibly optional.
    Of the ones he already has, the ones that stand out most to me are: a) be self-confident, b) care for other people, c) be trustworthy, and d) anticipate problems. To add to the list, I would also say a good leader knows when to be at the front of the group directing the way and when to step back let the team run ahead. To be all one or the other would be ineffective, but to give enough direction so that the team knows where they are going/what is expected of them and then stepping back and letting them gain the experiences that a CTI summer team has to offer them is extremely important to me.

    Question 3: To be honest, I am slightly overwhelmed at the idea of leading in Hong Kong. However, I think my being intrigued and excited about what the experience has to offer outweighs the worry. And even more than that, my extreme lack of being able to focus on the seemingly distant future for any extended period of time has prevented me from hyperventilating over the details. That will come in May, I'm sure. Till then, bring on the soft-edges!

    Question 4: This section instantly sent me to what Christ calls us to do in the gospels- love our neighbor as ourselves. In this context, follow your leader as you would like to be followed. I know for myself, I tend to demand active followership, whether I'm on a CTI team, directing/stage managing a show, or a cabin leader at a summer camp. I don't let my teams just sit around till I tell them to do something. I don't crave blind followers. I want people who are involved in the process- the team, music, show, arts&crafts, etc- and who contribute to the direction that we are going. Positively, of course, is always preferred. ;) When clear leadership is needed, I want my team to step back and follow, let me take the lead. When a situation demands team members to take the initiative (ex: drummer asked to solo at the end of a concert for the kids who love it- I'd rather he/she just do it and meet the contacts needs in the moment rather than seek me out and get permission).
    So if I hope for and expect this from any group that I lead, I should hope that I behave in a way similar to my expectations when I am a follower: that I am active in knowing what my purpose is, how I fit in, how I can contribute, what I can do to help the team, and know when to just let the leader take charge of the situation/team and submit to the decisions made. These are all things I do strive for now, but going through this book and 'class' will bring these things to mind much more frequently, I'm sure.

    There you go. I hope that all makes sense. Feel free to ask for clarification on anything.

  3. Sara,

    I love your point about knowing when to lead and when to let your team run ahead of you. That's a hard lesson to learn for most leaders, I think. It's especially hard for me when my insecurities kick in and I feel as though I might not be able to "reign them back in" once they run ahead of me. Those are the moments when I have to remind myself that my place in Christ is secure and that's all that matters.

    Thanks for sharing, Sara.

  4. #1) I can think back to my time as a captain of my college’s soccer team. I was put in charge of leading those women both on and off the field. Talk about pressure. Well I can whole-heartedly agree with Graham when he talks about the testing that comes with developing the soft-edge stuff. I could easily deal with all the logistics and soccer-life stuff that came but I can think of a time when I had to really practice and develop my communicating with sensitivity and building trust. There was a troublemaker on the team and in all honesty I wanted to just throw her out and forget about trying to help her, it wasn’t worth it anymore. But after discussing things with my coach and fellow captains we decided we can’t just do that, we needed to try and come alongside her in hopes that she would eventually trust us and turn around her actions. In the end, we gave her a chance but she didn’t choose to walk in it. It was really hard to see her fall down and us sitting by unable to help her until she was at a point of helping herself. I learned a lot through that experience about soft-edge stuff because there were no “rule books” to help or tell me exactly what needed to be done.

    #2) I love this definition. The words that stuck out to me were GOALS, FOCUS, COMPETENCY. I think those 3 words really speak truth to leading. There must be some sort of shared goal (everyone must know what it is) and through that there can be a unified focus, and then everyone will understand why we are doing what we’re doing and be able to in-turn lead and follow as necessary.
    From the list I loved the “inspire others to be at their best”. It wasn’t tell people to be at their best or make them be at their best but instead INSPIRE. I think by forcing ourselves as leaders to be at our best, we will inspire our teammates to do the same. But like Paul said, servanthood is a definite must for a leader. It’s one of those things that can easily be forgotten because as a leader you think power, authority, responsibility, but in fact Christ showed us truly how to lead - with a servant attitude and a humble heart.

    #3) I am a bit worried with Serbia only because it's the first year going and I don't have anyone to ask about things I need to do better or make sure I do/don't do. But I don’t really feel stressed too much about the hard-edge stuff, only because I
    am a plan-ahead, detail Nazi ☺ (Nate, Sara, Gretchen, you can all laugh) so that usually isn’t the problem. I know already that this soft-edge stuff will need more practice and concentration for me so I am looking forward to continue developing that area in my life.

    #4)I think this is one of the reasons why I have loved being a team member instead of a team leader this year. I am trying to learn that very thing – be a good follower. I can see the importance of having people behind you and having a common focus and goal as a team. Without great followers, one cannot be a good leader. It’s been true in my own life as both a leader and a follower. Chris, I love how you mentioned that the respect you had for one another (you and Max) was what made the difference on your trip. I think it’s a good thing to remember as leaders, we aren’t the best and don’t have to be the best at everything. Instead if we can see that each person has gifts and abilities to lead and are willing to respect one another, we can more easily follow. I know I still have lots to work on as far as following goes, but I know that a good leader must have the capacity to be the best kind of follower. I really liked how Sara mention the fact she wants active followers and wants to be an active follower. I think of how Jesus’ disciples were active and as a fellow follower of Christ I want to be actively involved in the dreams and goals that Christ has for my life… after all He doesn’t just lead us without us needing to be able to follow Him. So the same is true for CTI leadership/followship too :)

    I just love this... homework, reading, reflecting, and learning from other people's experiences. Best idea yet Chris and Paul!
    Happy Thursday,
    Carrie Joy

  5. Carrie says something important here:

    "In the end, we gave her a chance but she didn’t choose to walk in it."

    We'll read more about this later on in our study, but I think it's worth mentioning now that our success as leaders isn't necessarily reflected in the choices made by those we lead. As leaders, it's our job to "shape the framework" upon which an experience can unfold for our followers, but within that framework, team members still have the capacity and right to choose how their experience will go.

    This principle is true for you all right now in the fulltime experience too. Think back to the discussions we had about being "set apart." We used those discussions to help establish an environment in which we believe you will have the best opportunity for success towards the goal of spiritual formation, but you all still have the choice about how you invest your time, how you choose to act in relation to each other, etc. Our leadership success is judged by how well we enable you to have a good experience - not by how well you choose to have it.

    The same will be true of you as you lead others.

    There's a huge spiritual parallel to be found in the concept of free will - a critical part of our relationship to God.

  6. Preface/Chapter 1

    Reflection 1:
    The experiences that come to mind are actually times that I wasn’t necessarily in a “leadership” position but ended leading in a way that I didn’t realize until much later.
    One instance in particular I was just an aid at a continuation high school. My job was to help students catch up on their work so that they could either transfer back to the “normal” high school, or simply graduate on time. The main subject I was hired for was algebra. So all day long I worked with juniors and seniors; trying to get them to help them pass their tests and catch up with the rest of their class. There were a few ESL students who required a very large amount of patience in order to motivate them. I would sit there with them (one at a time) for an hour and only get through 3 equations. I had several teachers come to me and say, “I wouldn’t spend too much time with her/him they’re never going to get it”. Then I realized they have probably worked with people throughout their entire educational career with the attitude that they (the student) are a waste of time. Of course they aren’t going to put any effort into their work, if they believe it’s all in vain. That made me mad, and really sad for the students. So I decided that I would spend whatever time I thought necessary for them. I began to encourage them and be sensitive to their tendencies toward frustration. I would say, “ok, let’s take a break from this for a bit and then come back to it”. They began to trust me, and the more they trusted me, the better they did, and the better they did the more confident they got in themselves…and then they’d trust me even more and allow me to push them even harder. Eventually, other teachers noticed the students excelling and commented on how impressed they were that I had taken the time to believe in them when no one else would. I guess I can’t really say if my actions changed future actions of other teachers but I like to think that they at least changed their attitudes.

    Reflection 2:
    The two that stand out most to me are “earning trust” and “inspiring good performance”. In all honesty, the reason those stand out to me is that they confirm in me what I’ve seen in leaders in my life…mainly Paul Vasilko. I have had the pleasure of being on 2 teams with him. Both of those teams were full of people who respected him and wanted to please him. I think the more people trust the leader the more they want to be trusted by the leader. Also, I have never seen two teams who pray more and spend more time in the Word than Paul’s Singapore and Mexico teams. It’s not solely because the people on those teams happened to be people who are in constant prayer on their own, or because all of them were passionate about the Word. I believe it was mainly because Paul is passionate about the Word, and Paul is passionate about prayer. And since they trust Paul, they trust that whatever Paul does has the intentions of good. Not only do they trust him but they see the fruit/outcome of his actions and are inspired to pursue the same.

    Reflection 3:
    Actually, I don’t think I’m too stressed or concerned at this point about specifics. Perhaps it’s because I’m focusing a lot right now on what I’m going to do to encourage spiritual unity on my team. I’m trying to think of a theme that might help us all come together and form a vision for what we’re doing and how we’re serving Christ by serving Guatemala. I realize I do need to think about logistical things, but I’m trying not to worry about that right now just so I don’t get overwhelmed. I know, however, that when it comes down to it, I will be a little concerned that I’m not as competent as the others on my team. That is definitely something I will have to let go of, and allow myself to be humbled in that way.

    Reflection 4:
    All of this learning is a good reminder that we have the chance to be leaders even as we follow the rest of this FT year. We still have 6 weeks or so of traveling together between this tour and the next. That’s over a month of opportunities to live up to the calling we have received. In Ephesians, Paul says, “As a prisoner of the Lord…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (vs 1. NIV). This has been a really prevalent verse for me this year. It’s been the Lord saying, “Hey Gretch, this is the calling I’ve placed on you, don’t just delight in it….be worthy of it”. The ironic thing is that we cannot be worthy of this calling (whether we’re on the road or in another country) without the Lord moving in our lives. So in order to be worthy of the calling, we have to go all the way back to the Vine. Haha…that’s a whole other topic so I’ll stop at that.

  7. I’m a little humbled by Gretchen’s words here, but she highlights a point that I tried to make to each of you when I was with you on the road. There’s no time like the present to pray for your summer team. Pray for them, pray for yourself, pray for your overseas partners, pray for your co-leaders. I firmly believe that the more you pray for someone, the more you will develop a heart for them. It’s a natural reaction.

    Gretchen is right. I do believe in prayer. I also believe in the Word, and I believe in being in the Word. I know it sounds cheesy, but the saying holds true: “the team that prays together, stays together.”

    I don’t need to convince you all of the benefits of praying together as a team, I’ll just point out that, as Gretchen has indirectly highlighted here, your team will look to you for spiritual direction this summer, whether you like it or not.

    I think that our own spiritual growth is a soft-edge that gets neglected in preparation for leading a team. I’d encourage you to find proactive ways to prepare yourself spiritually for this experience.

    Gretchen also makes a really great point about your responsibility to what’s left to accomplish with your FT teams. Practicing good followership will prepare you well for your imminent future as a leader. Also, don’t miss the lessons and blessings that the Lord has for you in the ministry that He prepared for you to be engaging in over the next few weeks.

  8. wow, those are some profound thoughts to chew on. I am honestly not in a good frame of mind to write on the blog tonight, I will however write on it asap.

  9. I agree whole heartheartely that some of the most effective and impactful leadership happens in the grey areas of soft-edge leadership. I dont' have much more to say on the subject besides this:

    It is utterly overwhelming for me to think about having to develope trust, communicate with sensitivity, balance intellect with intuition and inspire others all while trying to make sure the nine other people on my team are all going to make it onto the MRT and know to get off at the third stop, switch to the yellow train, get off all at once, stop to get lunch- making sure to communicate effectively with a non-english speaking vender that we have a team member allergic to peanut oil- and make it to some obscure school in a country we've only been in for 30 hours.

    That's when, even if you do happen to be carrying a "How To Be The Perfect Leader Handbook," you don't bother to get it out and look at it because it's just too much hassel to do in on a crowded street when you have one team member red-lining hard core. The one thing that keeps me grounded in this area is SERVICE. Honestly, if I stop to list out the options, weigh whether or not my decision is going to build trust, be inspiring, or even be commuicated sensitively, I wouldn't ever act. I'd be to afraid to fail. HOWEVER, if my focus is on serving my team, my actions will reflect that. The solution that comes to mind first should be the one that will benefit the individual, if my attitude is one of service. That's not saying that it always is. But it should be.

    2.) The words that stuck out to me in this chapter were "moving others towards GOALS SHARED WITH YOU." It is often easy to forget to communicate those goals. It's the SHARED part of that observation that I find to be key. It's important to actually share some of those goals. It's important to communicate those ideas clearly and positively so that people want to join you in achieving them.

    As far as that list of expectations on page 11, well, it's dificult for me to not react with indignation while reading it. I supose I'm a little cynical when it comes to the expectations people put on leaders. I know I can not fulfill all of those expectations, and it's my pride that is hurt by it. But in all honesty, in reading that list I realized that it was those kinds of qualities that I hope for not only in a leader, but in team mates as well. I supose I see it as the responisbility of the leader to develop those characteristics to some degree (within the realm of individual gifting and capability) in those that they are leading.

    3.) Ask anyone on my team if they think that the "specifics" of leading a team are a concern to me, and I'm sure they'd just chuckle. I wish with all my might that I was a specifics-minded person, but it's something I've had to really work on this year. I'm not too concerned about it. I'm much more anxious about the soft-edge responsibilities of leading. That is why I'll be preparing myself for both aspects. :)

  10. Spoken like a true HK / Taiwan / Singapore alum! Aren't you lucky... all that MRT experience will be totally irrelevant in Latin America ;-)

    Truth is... everyone here will make a decision and act on it when it's crunch time, and it'll almost certainly be the right one (there won't only be one "right" decision, so the odds are in your favor.) But in that moment of pressure, the true leadership CHARACTER that you've cultivated will come out.

    David used to say that when you squeeze an orange, the juice that comes out is whatever juice has formed inside it. So I think the time we spend on tending the fruit of leadership as it grows in us is some of the best we can spend as we prepare for those moments that Laura is describing. The hope is that you won't have to think about building trust, communicating with sensitivity, etc... because it will be second-nature.

    Funny... it all comes back to Christian formation.

  11. OK, my promised post.
    Question #1
    I agree totally with Laura on this, so many times in any "leadership" situation i've found myself in I am usually not the most qualified person in any terms, and the only thing I can decide to do in the moment is to serve. It's like Gretchen said to me today "... well, is it serving the team?" When it all comes down to it, the only thing we have to give is our love and service, and those are not quantifiable elements. Right now I can't articulate or even process what it means to "lead", except that every morning I wake up and ask God to make me servant, to give me a servants heart and to show me how to Love my teammates.

    Look guys, I really feel at this point that I have nothing to contribute, I don't even know what it means to be a leader beyond what I've just said. I echo your sentiments, and I will answer the questions the best I can, but i don't feel that i have anything to add.

    #1 Definitely. When I was leading "the Sound of my Addiction" I found myself in a situation where one of the band members had just confessed to sleeping with his girlfriend. His church had asked him to "take a break" from working with the youth there, which I believe was the right thing for them to do, but he came to us in the band and confessed his sin, and we forgave him and that was that. The problem was our next venue was his church, and the church had asked him to step down from ministering for a while, and that was exactly what we did, was minister to the youth (or at least attempt to). And the church said it was still fine if we played, he just couldn't stick around afterward and hang out with the youth, which we all know is where most ministry in music happens. I had to make a decision as to weather we could play the show under those conditions. While the outcome of the situation is irrelevant, I realized that there is no amount of technical competence that can deal with a situation like that, and that at some point it became more about the trust between me and my band mate. If he trusted me he was willing to go with whatever I (we the band) decided.

    #2 Not at all, at least not now. It may have before this year, but I totally agree with and empathize with it now! As to the list, I agree with Paul that Serving is noticeably missing. However, the biggest ones that jump out at me are coincidentally the ones that I most realize my inefficiency in!
    -be self confident- This one I am realizing more and more means to be God confident. What Graham is referring to is being confident in your abilities to accomplish the task at hand, and this is true but only to an extent. We have no abilities nor qualifications outside of Him. Self confident means being driven. God confident means being led. As leaders, we need to be (as some of ya'll have said) followers first, and I have found this to be experientially true.
    -communicate well- this is so huge, and I am a terrible communicator! This is something I know that I need to work on, and not me working on it, but Christ in me directing me to learn how to better communicate. Communication is hugely important, and I knew this, but I am only now discovering it's impact.
    Still on #2 I am in heartfelt agreement with Losh. Of course my pride is hurt when i read that list and realize that I am deficient in all of those categories, but still the cold truth is that I look for those in others, especially people I am leading.
    #3 This year I have been far to preoccupied with both or either of those elements of leadership. Logistics (Philippines) and emotions (Training tour) have the potential to derail a leader if either one is given a priority over the other. They say this is called balance, and for me balance boils down to being centered in Christ. If I'm valuing each individual I will be sensitive to their emotions, same with logistics, if I am considerate of our contacts, teammates, etc then I will have a better grasp of what needs to happen logistically.
    #4. To follow as I would like to be followed. To acknowledge that I may not be the best person for each task, and to allow the person best suited for it do it WITHOUT first making sure that they know I can do it too!

    Sorry about this blog guys, I am kinda reeling right now, i just found out my former boss and his son were out ice fishing and fell through the ice yesterday and drown... please pray for their family- the wife/mom and sister/daughter.

  12. I think that Nate makes a really great point here to highlight the importance of communication. When I'm evaluating whether or not to put someone in a leadership position, their ability to communicate is right near the top of the list for desired gifts. (That speaks well for you guys, since we chose you to be our main-leaders this summer!)

    I'd also like to echo what Chris wrote above. The point of this whole process is talk/think about all of these issues so that when you're standing at an airport, or in an MRT station, you don't have to just react.

    We'll prepare you the best we can for the logistical side of things when the time is appropriate, so I'd encourage all of you to divorce yourselves from those things as much as possible.

    Finally, I'd like to draw attention to what Nate writes in response to question 3. A professor I had in seminary told us that he feels we put too much weight on being "balanced." He felt that we need to focus on being "centered" in Christ, and that balance would naturally result.

    New post to come later this afternoon!


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