Recently I was driving with some of our church leaders and dear friends to an event. We could not all fit in one car and as happens many times in life (at least in America) we found ourselves driving several cars to one destination. Now for those of you who have driven in a carpool or caravan before you may remember some of the discomforts of the experience. It was difficult to stay together as we found ourselves dashing through traffic, stopping and going. As we drove I was reminded of more than a few important leadership principles. Let me briefly unpack these for you in the narrative of our driving.
First of all, we were driving in caravan. Several cars headed through the city in rush hour traffic. Transferring freeways and changing lanes. As a leader I found myself very comfortable in the lead position and very uneasy in the latter spots in line. But even when I slipped back I was always put at ease when I knew what the next stop was. That even if the car in front got too far in front of me, I knew we would regroup at the previously chosen exit. Which leads me to my first point:
Verbalize the Rest Stops
We all move at a different pace as leaders and when we are doing our best for God we ought not ever be made to feel guilty if our pace is a bit slower or a bit fast than the woman/man next to us. Communicating our next ‘regroup’ is such an essential piece to keeping us all together as a team, a family, a community. For those who are growing weary in the later miles of the journey, just knowing we will be stopping all the meeting, playing and speaking soon just to share a meal and talk about the trip can be the saving grace for everyone, even those who “think” they could keep going further than the rest.
I noticed something else as I drove one of the cars in the caravan loaded with people. My driving style is NOT everyone else’s driving style. Sometimes I roll a stop sign when those in the backseat felt I should stop. Other times I waited to change lanes when some felt I should. I was frustrated at their backseat driving and they were afraid for their lives. Which takes me to my second point:
Verbalize the Lane Changes
Let people know what you’re doing before you make a move. This may seem really elementary, but when people are “in the car with you” and you swerve violently it makes it really uncomfortable to ride with you. When the conversation comes up you may not even feel you were swerving, but that’s because you knew you were merging long before you did so. Communicate where you’re going and when you’re going to get there. And maybe most importantly, as a leader, DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU ARE GOING TO DO. Nothing makes people less excited about leading with you, or by you, than changes in plans that are communicated late or not at all. Changes happen and especially in a new church like ours, change is the one thing you can count on happening. However, with email, text messaging, cell phones and a rich communal environment like ours, there is just no excuse for leaders who get blindsided with change.
While our mission is paramount to our existence, we were never designed to live the mission outside of the community of the local church. So let’s be intentional as leaders to make this “living with the local church” and enriching experience for those with which you are partnered. I believe that for you, as it has for me, these two simple reminders will be a help to not only yourself but the rest of us who lead with you. I pray your week is full of God’s confirmation, God’s moving and a miracle or two!