How to Live in Faith as a Leader
Two years ago, I worked at a summer camp, and one of the activities that campers could participate in was archery. There were eight targets with a balloon in the center of each of them. On one particular day, eight campers were shooting, and one by one, I started to hear balloons popping because everyone was hitting bulls-eyes.
Seven balloons had already been popped by the time the last camper realized that she was the only one left to hit her target. She only had two arrows left, so you can imagine the amount of pressure she felt. But she did not waiver in confidence. If anything, she was convincing the counselors that she would hit that last balloon. All I can remember her saying is, "Don't worry. I'm gonna get it."
She put the arrow on her bow and pulled it to her face. She stood there for about 5 minutes concentrating on the target and finally shot. She missed the target, which meant that she only had one last try to get a bulls-eye. But she was absolutely determined. She took her last arrow, concentrated on the target, pulled her arrow back and POP. She hit the balloon right on her target, and everyone cheered in response.
I was so shocked by her determination to accomplish such a task, but I was also very proud that she was in my cabin. And the archery instructor was proud too! He told us that in the ten years he'd been at camp, only one group of boys was able to pop all of their balloons like that.
Where am I going with this? I think there are several lessons we can learn from this small anecdote. If we placed ourselves in the camper’s shoes, it’s easy to ask questions like, “How are you living? Are you living determined or are you living in fear? Are you comparing your success to others or can you remain focused on your task? Can you live your life in faith even when circumstances may say otherwise?” But I’d like to focus on the flip side. If we take the time to assess and reflect, I did not lead my camper well because I did not have the faith that she would hit her target. I’m sure many of us can relate.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter what you do in life, but there will come a time where you will be given a choice to be a leader. I say choice because there is a difference between authority and leadership. Authority can be defined as the power to give orders, enforce obedience, and make decisions whereas leadership is exerting influence on others to help them reach a particular goal.If you could take a good guess, I’m sure you’d figure out that my favorite leader is Jesus. I’ll give you an example. When Jesus walked on water, he extended the invitation to Peter to come to Him and walk on water too. Jesus knew without a doubt that Peter could accomplish this task, but Peter did not, which is why He started to sink. (You can read more about this story in Matthew 14:22-33).
I know that there are plenty of sermons that talk about how we need to have more faith than Peter did, but I’m focused on Jesus here. Jesus exercised great leadership skills by having the faith that his follower and beloved disciple could do the impossible. I mean He even reprimanded Peter for having such little faith, and I think this principle can be applied in our lives as well. Not the reprimanding, but the faith concept.God knows that He is bigger than our doubts, but can we say the same about ourselves? Do we lead our followers to Christ by first having faith that they can accomplish their goals, and then leading them to the source of their strength, which is God Himself?I’ve come to learn that there are three types of environments that leaders can cultivate for their followers. I will briefly explain them below, but you can learn more about them here.
Comfort Zone: An environment where the follower thinks they can handle their tasks and don’t need anyone’s help to accomplish it. This is where complacency is rooted, and how the self can easily become the center. Aka Not good.
Sweet Spot: An environment where the follower does not think they can do it, but you as their leader and especially God know they can accomplish it. This is where followers feel the most uncomfortable, yet this is where they are stretched and can grow as a result.
False Expectations: An environment where the follower is not gifted or designed to complete the task i.e. an accountant who wants to be a basketball player. This gives the follower false expectations, which leads to frustration and consistent failure. This may also result in the follower placing their identity in those failures. Also not good.
After reading about these environments, grab my reflection questions here to reflect on the ways you can grow as a leader. Loved reading this post? Let’s continue this conversation on Instagram. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you plan to live in more faith.SaveSave