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Thursday, April 29, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Acts 9:1-19

I’ve been interested in leading since I was just a boy. My first “elected” position was when I became treasurer of my 5th grade class – and I’ve found myself in leadership positions of one sort ever since.

While holding positions of leadership have been a constant for me over the years, there is one thing that has changed 180 degrees for me. That something is my philosophy of leadership.

I use to believe than an effective leader was someone who always had a detailed plan in place that would take a group into the future. I believed that because that was what most of the leadership models suggested at the time. In the last ten years, a “new” vision of leadership has begun to emerge that takes a radically different approach.

Instead of emphasizing the importance of having a detailed plan for the future, the emerging vision of leadership suggests that effective leaders are extremely flexible in their approach and leave plenty of room for developments that occur along the way so they can adapt very quickly. I can’t tell you how life giving this shift in thinking has been for me!

I can’t help but laugh when I refer to this emerging vision of leadership as “new” – for that model has been around for centuries.

And how do I know that?

Well, I find that model of leadership peppered throughout Scripture. One place in particular where I find it is in today’s passage from Acts. In that passage we were introduced to one of the greatest leaders in our faith tradition: Saul (soon to become Paul).

When Saul had the experience of being blinded on the road to Damascus, he had a choice about how to handle the situation. He could have resorted to a more traditional leadership style and drawn up a detailed plan of his own (i.e. have my assistants help him to his feet, have them make an appointment with an eye doctor, see the course of treatment through, and return to work).

He didn’t choose that route, however.

Instead, he took a risk and followed the voice that said, “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next.” Saul went through the plans – even though he had no idea what lay beyond the next step. And that, my friends, is what I think faith – as well as effective spiritual leadership - is all about. Taking a risk without knowing exactly what the outcome will be.

Perhaps there is an area in your life where you have felt some need. You might have spent a great deal of time pursuing YOUR plans – and none of those plans have worked out. If that’s the case, remember Saul’s example and try doing the unthinkable: take a leap of faith. You might find that through that process your eyes will be opened to possibilities/futures that exceed your planned outcome.

Til next time…

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