Off the Deep End

Dr. Phil – Typically, many people who take on responsibility in the church have it thrust upon them, rather than being prepared and released as part of an intentional process. Reflecting on your own path of Christian service, you may identify with a similar type of process. It would be similar to teaching someone to swim by taking them out into the middle of the lake and then pushing them overboard and hope they make it to shore. Unfortunately, this is how many leaders have learned what they know about leadership, by trial and error. And since we usually pass on leadership the way it was given to us, when it comes time for us to teach others, we just push the next generation over the side of the boat and hope they too figure out how to swim before they end up at the bottom of the lake.

Now one way or the other, some do learn to swim using this method. But this is not proof of this as a successful approach, merely an affirmation of the survival power of some individuals! This “method” often produces scars in the individual as well as in others they serve, since they pick up many poor “swimming” habits along the way. They may be survivors, but often just barely. The reality is that they often don’t feel equipped, because while they may have been able to get to shore, they never really learned how to swim properly. This then limits their leadership effectiveness and their ability to pass on healthy leadership to others.

But what would happen if we were more intentional in teaching a potential leader? Instead of pushing them overboard in the deep end, what if they learned how to swim while they were still close to shore? Only when they had mastered a few swimming strokes were they then taken to the middle of the lake. I suspect that we would have healthier leaders and ones that would then have a better model in how to reproduce other leaders. What is seldom talked about is that the haphazard approach to equipping others for leadership inevitably results in bodies at the bottom of the lake – those who never did make it using the “sink or swim” approach to leadership development.

In contrast, the mentoring process of healthy leaders coming alongside of others and helping them develop in the use of their gifts and talents and releasing them into ministry is more effective for both the individual and the body as a whole. This is the focus of our ministry. We want to help leaders who have never been mentored themselves understand healthy leadership and then learn how to mentor the next generation of leaders. In this way we can mitigate the collateral damage of potential leaders who wind up drowning in the process.

Thank you for your support which enables us to empower leaders to mentor others. Together we can help to reduce the damage to leaders and the body of Christ as they establish healthier models of leadership that focuses on equipping and releasing all believers.

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