One question that will take your leadership to the next level…
After decades leading 11-18 year-olds, years leading a worship team and workplace experience leading staff members, I have come to a single question that – as long as I answer it and act on it – has rescued me from drowning, kept me on my feet, and at times taken me to a new level.
I asked myself this question last week and as a result I have set up a meeting with two fantastic leaders I greatly admire.
And the question is found buried in an ancient text.
Jesus takes Peter, John and James away from the crowds, up a mountain to pray. While they are there Jesus’ face changes and his clothes become as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses (dead) and Elijah (also dead) appeared in glorious splendour, talking with Jesus.
Luke even tells us what they were talking about:
They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfilment… (Luke 9:31)
At first the three disciples were sleepy but Peter soon offers to organise a den-building experience, because he can’t think of anything else to say and can’t bear to say nothing.
Heaven and Earth
We have two groups of people: The three from heaven (Jesus, Moses and Elijah) and the three ordinary, earthly guys (Peter, James and John).
Jesus and his companions’ conversation is focused on the future:
They spoke of his departure…
Peter and his companions are focused on the present:
It is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters…
They were sleepy, Jesus was awake (just like in Gethsemane). And once they were awake, a cloud enveloped them and,
They were afraid.
Jesus the leader
As a leader you might feel like the people you are leading don’t have the same grasp on the future as you, and because of that they don’t interpret the present correctly. That’s normal. It’s also normal to feel like the people you lead are sometimes sleepy, fearful and enveloped in a cloud, like Peter and his companions were.
If you have a vision at all, people you are leading will rarely see as far ahead or as clearly as you do. If you find someone like that, promote them.
Remember, these three were the top of the 12 – the rest of the disciples weren’t even invited to this mountain-top party. Remember also, Jesus was training his disciples to be leaders themselves. And the top 3 can’t even get a grasp of what’s happening.
It might be useful to identify who your Peter, James and John are. Whether you’re a leader or not, find three people you can mentor, help, encourage, train. They don’t even have to know. Just invest in them. And expect them to get it wrong, sleep when you want them awake, etc.
If you are to stay sane when Peter, James and John don’t get it, ask:
Who are my Moses and Elijah?
Who in your life understands where you are going, knows the plan and is accessible? Maybe they’ve been there before and know the score. Maybe they’re just wise enough to listen.
- Identify your Peter, James and John.
- Call them up, have a drink together, find out how you can be a positive influence on their lives. Don’t make a big thing of it. They don’t even have to know.
- Identify your Moses and Elijah.
- Call them up, fix time together to talk, think, pray.