Up for air. To a certain extent, this is the feeling I think many of us are having. I’m not sure we are closer to any answers or plans then we were months ago. We only have new decisions, fears, anxieties, strategies and thoughts that occupy our mind. Regardless of this, for me personally, I believe I have come up for air. I’ve gone back to my gym, though I feel more like I work there, scrubbing down equipment after each use, then actually working out. I’ve heard from coaches who are ready to get going and to have FCA there with them as they navigate all of this newness. I have my masks I carry and wear where needed and required. None of the inconveniences seem to bother me as much. I whole heartily believe it’s the work of the Lord in my life, because I can get worked up about things, especially things I think are illogical and inefficient. But I’ve let most of that go. How did I get to this space? To begin with I put down my phone, my remote and cleared my mind. Then I returned to an old leadership truth I’ve used over the past 15 years, three principals that help me navigate life, decisions and strategies. It’s the picture of a target, starting small in the center, go deeper has it expands to a larger area. I wanted to share those with you.
- Start Small. The first step is always the most important step. I have found, in my leadership, my most effective sustainable strategies, decisions and outcomes have come from when I didn’t start big but started small. Jesus led this way. He started with three disciples and grew is inner circle to twelve. He didn’t start out with hundreds of disciples. He started small. Jesus says in Luke 16:10; “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” Don’t feel like every decision has to be made now, we don’t necessarily need to make decisions for January now. Get some small wins and be methodical. Start with one step at a time.
- Go Deep. By starting small we are able to make sustainable decisions and strategies. This is partly why Jesus chose only twelve disciples, he knew he could go deep with them and make a greater impact which could multiply to others from this depth. Jesus’s ministry is all about sustainability, this is discipleship. “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24, 25. Self-denial and cross bearing require a deep commitment. These things asked of us, by Christ, require a deep footing in order to sustain the storms on the horizon. Where are you growing deep? Are your decisions and strategies sustainable over time? Bring depth to your life’s work. I always try to make sure everything has depth to it before I chase it.
- Think Big. While the first two principals focus on small incremental steps, but if followed will allow for big thoughts and ideas. It may seem counter to have big thinking third in line, because honestly this is where most of us start. I can remember when I started in ministry 18 years ago. I had this big thinking vision of reaching every college student in Atlanta with the Gospel. For a vision, there is nothing wrong with this statement, but it’s not where I needed to start. I needed a first step and some depth to establish a good foundation to allow for the big thought. Jesus leadership serves as an example here as well. He started with 12 disciples, spoke and taught a deep truth into their life and we see the result in Acts 6:7, “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” It all started with only twelve. I continue to think big, encouraged by what I believe things can be and dream about my role in those outcomes.
The world is changing, and we will continue to find ourselves in unique places. As leaders we must navigate these waters and help others navigate them as well. Keeping in mind the ministry of Jesus and his leadership during difficult times can help us. Start Small. Go Deep. Think Big.
Lead Well and Be Encouraged!