Say What You See!
I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about what does it mean to be a leader and how we can better release leaders in our communities. One of the things I’ve been realising is that leaders are people who are willing to say what they see going on around them.
In Luke 12, Jesus says that one of the characteristics of the coming kingdom will be that the things that were spoken in quiet, the things that were whispered in hushed rooms, the things that have been secret will be spoken out loud and shouted from rooftops.
I think that is a great lesson for us as leaders. Leadership means being willing to make public what is going on in our heads and to say what we see going on around us. Here are three ways we can put that into practice.
Speak out the Word
Are you willing to speak out the word of God into people’s lives? Not just in the formal discipleship time, when you’re doing a bible study or a bit of worship, but also when you are in the informal time. When you are doing the washing up, when you are going for a walk, while you are doing a project. Have you learnt to be listening to the conversation you are having but also listening to God and being willing to say “this is what I think He is saying…”?
I have been challenged about this recently in some of my conversations with people who might be people of peace, to be bolder about dropping bits of the bible into our talk, bolder about sharing bits of my story and bolder about asking: would you like me to pray for you?
What has encouraged me is that as I have done that everyone has responded positively, everyone has said “yes, thank you!” because people are hungry to hear God’s word. So let’s be leaders who say what we see and are willing to grow in confidence about speaking out God’s word to others.
Point out the Elephant
Leaders are also people who are willing to point out the awkward facts that maybe everyone knows but no one is talking about. There is this great phrase “the elephant in the room” the thing you all see but everyone is avoiding. Leadership is sometimes about pointing to the elephant in the room and asking “what about that?”
There may be people in your community with things going on that you need to help them with. People you need to say, hey I see this is hard for you, do you need a hand? With some people you might need to be a little more challenging and say “I see this thing going on and I’m not sure you should be involved in it, can we talk about it? Leadership means being willing to point out the elephant in the room.
Name the Baby
Finally leadership is about being willing to point out the obvious. To be willing to be the person who states what you think everyone already knows, because the chances are not everyone does. A friend of mine used a great phrase recently. He said that leaders are people who name the baby. They simply state “this is the thing, here it is going on.”
Are there people in your community who are really good at the social glue side of community life? They’re always at the social times, they’re often round at people’s houses or folk are with them, they are the first to comment on the Facebook thread or reply to the prayer text. It might be time to have a conversation with them and thank them for the pastoral care they are giving to the community, thank them for the way they are leading others by caring. They may not realise that is what they are doing, they may just think it’s what everyone does. But not everyone cares like that. So name the baby and create space so that you can talk about it.
Or maybe there are people your community who are always getting frustrated about mission and evangelism. They keep asking why you aren’t doing more ‘out’ and want to know when you’ll see more people coming to faith. It may be that there is a bit of Godly frustration going on. Are you willing to name the baby, invite them to talk about their frustration more, let God speak though them and lead the community through their passion?
Being leaders is about being people who are willing to say what we see. Who will speak out God’s word at any opportunity, who will point out the awkward, the elephant in the room and who are willing to name babies and say “this is the thing I think is happening” and not being scared of everyone rolling their eyes and saying yeah we already knew that, because they probably didn’t.
Leaders are people who will speak out.
Ben Askew lives in Harrogate UK with his wife Helen and their family. He is Pioneer Curate at Kairos Network Church, an Anglican fresh expression seeking to plant Missional Communities across the Harrogate area.