Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The Power Of Influence: JB Britton
Please forgive the infrequency of the blog posts over the last couple weeks. The reason is anything but a lack of having things worth mentioning. We’ve been very busy out here.
On Monday June 14, we were treated to a presentation by JB Britton, the associate Dean of Student Development, about the importance of influence in a leader’s life. Once again we were told that there is more to being a leader than just having power or status or title—we don’t have to be “in charge” to be a leader.
Being influential—being somebody others want to follow—is important to being an authentic Christian leader and begins within. It involves being a person of respect, being one who cares for others, and being action oriented. In discussion, we mulled over examples of leaders who exemplified integrity and personal leadership and compared them to other leaders that did not. Following someone because you are required to is quite different than following someone because of who they are and the values they represent.
For scripture this week, we read through Matthew 23 where Jesus derides the Pharisees and Church leaders for caring more about outward appearance than about following God’s true teaching. In the passage, Jesus explains that washing the outside of the cup is not enough, “wash the inside first and then the outside also will be clean.” All leaders should follow these words.
For some examples of good and bad leaders, and for a fun Calvin outing, we made our place among the seats at Red Rocks Amphitheater for an outdoor showing of The Princess Bride. The Film on The Rocks series brought us this classic from our childhood on Tuesday night. Though many of us have seen this movie more times than we can count, there is new appreciation to be had when it’s viewed outdoors with 9,000 other fans mouthing along to the words, “As you wish” or gasping for Wesley and Buttercup while they battle the Rodents of Unusual Size (R.O.U.S’s) in the Fire Swamp.
It was a great week with JB and his family and one that prepared us well for the next with Snow Mountain Ranch’s Chaplain, Steve Peterson.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Your Leadership Sweet Spot: Henry DeVries
These words, part of Henry DeVries’ talk on finding your leadership sweet spot, reminded us that leadership isn’t all about being in charge. It’s not about status or power or title. It’s about service and influence. And it’s true—not all of us are called to be the Chief Executives of major corporations, but we are all called to do God’s work and praise Him in all we do. We are called to be servant-leaders.
Henry’s talk enlightened us to the idea of finding our “leadership sweet spot.” In tennis, the “sweet-spot” is the section of the racquet where your hit on the ball will be most effective. It has a distinctive “feel” to anyone who has played tennis for long enough to find it. We, as leaders, have a sweet spot too—a position where we are most effective. Whether that position is the front, middle or back is largely determined by how analytical, behavioral or emotional you tend to be. More so, though, your leadership sweet spot is determined by:
Where you most often find yourself
Where you are happiest
Where you are most effective
Where you feel most satisfied
And where you feel called to be
Over the next nine weeks, we are sure to learn a lot more about what it means to be an authentic Christian leader. I think that each member of the LCI would agree that Henry’s talk set a good groundwork and raises questions that can be prayed about, thought about and discussed the entire summer. “Where is my sweet spot?” many of us our asking ourselves now. Through our work, small group discussions and large group presentations, I’m sure we will begin to understand ourselves better as Christ-honoring servant leaders and discover where it is we are most effective.
On Wednesday evening, the LCI group went to Adams Falls in Grand Lake, a quaint town on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. In comparison to other hikes we’ve done recently, Adams Falls is short, but it’s certainly beautiful. The water raged heavily because of the recently melted snow in the high country and the sun setting behind the Rockies made it feel like we were walking in a living post card. The biologist in Henry DeVries came out in full force, teaching us about the different wild flowers and other plants of the area. Thank you Henry!
Another thank-you belongs to Henry (Calvin College, actually) for treating us to ice cream at Grand Lake Chocolates. It was delicious and the perfect end to a beautiful day. Grand Lake, we will be back!
Monday, June 07, 2010
LCI 2010 Kick-Off
The LCI group kicked off its summer program last night by sharing stories, music and smores around the Indian Peaks fire ring. The gathering was largely informal—a chance for everyone to spend some time together and remind us all that Monday night marks the first of the large and small-group meetings.
It was a delight to have Henry DeVries, this summer’s opening speaker, and Steve Peterson, SMR’s Chaplain, join us around the fire. Having a member of the Calvin faculty reminds me that though we are over a thousand miles removed from Calvin’s campus, we are still connected by this program. Remembering that connection is important as it both validates our mission out here in Colorado and ties us to a common home while we live and work in a place which is, for many of us, a very different environment than we our used to.
Family and friends back at home or elsewhere: Please continue to think of us and pray for our program this summer. Pray that each speaker is granted valuable insight and delivers with clarity and honesty. Pray that each member of the Leadership Challenge Institute strives to make his or her first agenda love by approaching the program with grateful attentiveness and eager appreciation.
LCIers: For tonight and every week this summer, meditate and reflect on the verses provided by our speakers. Prepare mentally and spiritually for each Monday night meeting, being ready to apprehend and discuss the topics addressed. Think about this quote for tonight and for the whole of summer from Henri Nouwen: “Jesus sends us out to be shepherds, and Jesus promises a life in which we increasingly have to stretch out our hands and be led to places where we would rather not go. He asks us to move from a concern for relevance to a life of prayer, from worries about popularity to communal and mutual ministry, and from a leadership built on power to a leadership in which we critically discern where God is leading us and our people.”
READ MORE for a few pictures of our campfire