Today I have another guest blogger. Awana has come out with a new training for all leaders entitled LEAD:Equip. I have asked Nikki Baughman, a director of Student leaders in PA to write about the LEAD training that she attended recently. These are her thoughts….
I recently attended a leadership conference. I love leadership conferences!! You get the opportunity to be around other big thinkers, get new ideas, and usually leave feeling refreshed in your purpose. That’s what I was expecting when I attended the LEAD:Equip training. LEAD:Equip is the first in what will be a three part leadership development experience. It includes online and in-person components that are designed to challenge you to become a stronger, Christ-centered leader in all areas of your life.
I arrived-greeted by friendly faces of other ministry leaders also eager to hear shocking statistics that would move our hearts to action, and learn the best new way to inspire our teams, and the latest and greatest ways to share the gospel with children. I was waiting for that “ah-ha” moment during this training. That one thing I could take back to my ministry that would propel our club to new levels! There is always that one thing-and I was anxiously awaiting it.
First on the agenda, aspects of a healthy Christian leader. Awesome! They are going to tell me how I can tell my team how to be healthier leaders. Who can’t use healthy leaders? I know I can. Because ministry is hard and you need strong people by your side. As any leader knows, you have to encourage your people. Well…..here’s the thing. I learned 5 components of a healthy leader. Good. That’s when things got turned upside down. We had to get introspective!! We had to dig deep down and take a long hard look at ourselves, and where we rated on these components of a healthy leader. How healthy were we?? Wow! I don’t know if I was mentally prepared for this. (smile)
Onto sharing the gospel. I love the gospel! I mean who doesn’t love the incomparable story of God’s love and redemption for the world? I was ready! I walked away from this segment with practical ideas to put into practice to make sure in my club we are keeping the gospel the focus of all we do. Here’s the other thing I left with, the one I wasn’t expecting. The burden of all the kids, families, people that desperately need to hear the Good New of Jesus Christ. God placed a burden on my heart to take the Great Commission seriously, with every fiber of my being. Because the gospel is the power of Christ that lives within each and every one of us.
We could have stopped there because I was fired up already, but there was more! We talked about shepherding the hearts of those you lead and about building community and strengthening relationships. We were not meant to live this life alone, you know? While we learned about building relationships with those we lead, we also built relationships with each other. People that entered as strangers or acquaintances were developing friendships, building each other up and encouraging each other, and sharing ideas. Once again, our instructors had us take another long stare in the mirror at our own relationships. Not just our relationships with our team, but our family, our spouse, our neighbors. How do we foster the relationships in our own lives? You know, it’s not always the most fun thing when you have to take an honest look at how you treat those God has placed in your life.
Overall, LEAD:Equip did not disappoint. It was everything I was looking for. I was going home inspired from being around wonderful people, I had practical ideas to put in place in my own club, and I couldn’t wait to share what I had learned with everyone. But here is the one thing I left with that I had not expected. Through all of that yucky, terribly hard self-reflection I found my “ah-ha” moment. Do you know how you build better, stronger leaders? You have to become a better, stronger leader yourself. You have to do the hard work of taking an honest look at yourself and where you are, and then where does God want to take you? I’ll tell you what. I will be the first to admit I don’t really like self reflection, but if you never do it God cannot show you the amazing things he wants to use you to accomplish! We are ALL leaders – in our homes, our communities, our jobs, our churches, God has placed all of us in a position of influence of others. How are we responding to the responsibility He has given us? It all starts with God. He must be first in all that we do, and we must continually seek Him in all things as we strive to be better today than we were yesterday. Part of being better today than we were yesterday is to grow yourself, to be life-long learners. LEAD:Equip is a great way to see how healthy of a leader you are, and to give you to tools to be better.