I Was Thinking…
In a recent devotional time I read these words… “If you want to influence others, and you desire to get them moving in the right direction, you must connect with them before you try to take them anywhere. Trying to move others before going through the connection process with them can lead to mistrust, resistance, and strained relationships. Always remember that you have to share yourself before you try to share the journey. As someone once observed, “Leadership is cultivating in people today, a future willingness on their part to follow you into something new for the sake of something great.” Connection creates the willingness.”
(Becoming a Person of Influence, John Maxwell)
I was reminded of a comment made to me as our children were approaching their teenage years. A friend said to me “Terry, I think I have discovered the key to parenting teenagers. If we parents would just spend time with them, doing things they enjoy doing, I believe half the adolescent battles would fizzle away.”
That insight came to Sharon and me at just the appropriate time. While we were not (and are still not) perfect parents, this idea stayed with us for those very important teen parenting years. I can see now that relationship has made a difference. Connecting with our teens in their world of hopes and dreams was important as we sought to lead them through those challenging days to healthy adulthood.
Leadership, whether in a large group or small, is really nothing more than influence. Our Christian witness is leadership because it is influence. People are hungry for someone to take the time just to connect with them and to care about the things that stir their heart. Take the time this week and connect with someone—not manipulate them into some important agenda item for you—but to really connect with them. As you do, you will find someone willing to walk miles with you in your journey too.