Learning to Let Others Lead


Good leaders don’t always have to lead. Sometimes they follow.

SEND Conference 2015 That's me on the 43rd row, 18th from the left.

SEND Conference 2015
That’s me on the 43rd row, 18th from the left.

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to minister to 13,000+ people at the SEND Conference, sponsored by the North American Mission Board. I was neither a platform speaker nor in one of the praise bands.

I passed out sandwiches.

Knowing time was short and they needed to feed 13,000 people quickly, they asked for a small army of volunteers from several ministries, including LifeWay, to help. So we arrived and were trained in the fine art of sandwich distribution by a twenty-something college student. She was young enough to be my … younger cousin.

I’m not throwing anyone under the bus, but I could think of several ways we could have fed this crowd more quickly and with less volunteers. I looked around at our small army of volunteers and saw many of my LifeWay colleagues who have handled such events for years. Some had more years of experience in logistics than this girl had birthdays. Many of them were in management and were used to giving instructions and leading people. I learned later they, too, saw more efficient ways to carry out the work.

I also observed something else. No one rebelled. No one publicly corrected her or took her aside to tell how she should do it. A small army of leaders chose that day to follow.

I hope it was a good learning experience for her. But I think it was a great experience for the rest of us. It was a reminder to serve without complaining, to take a backseat when needed and serve someone else in their role of leadership.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ (Phil. 2:5).

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45).

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