This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series here. Published only on Sundays.
As the leader of the Linked 2 Leadership Group, I am blessed to get over 150+ people per week joining the L2L group on LinkedIn. To me, this is amazing and quite humbling that so many are interested in what we do.
My personal conviction toward applicants to the group is to look at each and every person who wants to join to see if they are a good fit for the stated mission of serving people interested in leadership development, organizational health, and personal & professional growth. If they look like a good fit, I approve them to be a member. If not, I encourage them to look elsewhere for a better fit for their needs. (So that you know, 99% of applicants are accepted :))
When I started the group over two years ago, I realized that the caliber of people joining the group was extremely high. I realized that I had a special charge to take each applicant and member as a serious person who was joining the group for very personal reasons.
At first, this was a little frightening for me. So many qualified and important people were coming in and looking for a place to grow.
I thought “Oh my gosh, these folks are really relying on me to provide them resources to help them in their leadership journey!” Then I asked myself “Are you capable of serving them in every area that they need?”
The big fat answer to that last question was “NO!” I am not capable of serving that many people from around the globe!
So, I assembled a group of capable people to help me serve the large and growing group. My first goal was to set up the this very blog that you are reading. I simply asked people who looked like they had the experience, expertise, and heartbeat of a servant leader to join me in blogging.
Freshness Every Week
Well, this past week, I engaged with a new applicant to the group and asked him if he wanted to join the blog team for the “Articles of Faith” Sunday Series. He is a pastor and his devotional blogs are great. He is in my town, so we met for lunch this week to get to know each other and see how we could collaborate to serve the group and community with our passions, skills, and desires.
Over a Ruben-on-rye sandwich and fries, I heard of a leadership journey that nearly brought me to tears!
The gentleman’s name is Joey Rodgers and I will leave most of the details of his story to his future blog entries that he promises to unfold in deeper detail within these pages at a later date.
His story goes something like this:
As a devout Christian pastor who engaged in every detail of “a good Christian” life that included regular Sunday church attendance, daily reading of the Bible, daily prayer time, daily quiet time to hear God’s voice, weekly fellowship with other Christians, mentoring with others, weekly discipleship with other men, and regular church functions, Joey was trying his best to be a faithful and loyal follower of Jesus Christ.
Trouble, trouble, trouble…
He found that over time, he was not getting the “proper” feeling of a true engagement with his faith. He began to secretly become troubled over his professed path. He concluded early on that he simply needed to try harder and push through this lull by being more devout in his daily and weekly regimen. Maybe, if he tried harder, he thought, he would get the peace and tranquility that is supposed to come with such endeavors.
But nothing worked to help him get better in his faith walk. He felt shallow, empty, and unfulfilled. He was approaching his faith and his leadership with a “works” mentality. He needed a change.
Well, something happened on the way to an impromptu Texas Two-Step outing.
Joey was walking across a campus at a large institution when some renegade group opened up a loud dancing occasion in the parking lot. Many gathered as music blared from pick-up trucks and people assembled to dance the Texas Two-Step. Joey smirked at the irony of dancing outside, but somehow felt the need to engage the group. He found a young lady and asked her to teach him the dance.
She agreed and gave him a quick lesson on the side. Quickly thereafter, she grabbed his hand and led him into the crowd to engage in the large Texas-style group dance. Joey was looking at his feet as he tried to display what he was just taught. He found himself suffering as a new dancer and said that he was stepping all over his poor partner’s feet.
When the young lady who was dancing with Joey had enough of the abuse from her mis-stepping partner, she looked up at him and grabbed his attention with the following question:
“Are you dancing with your feet, or are you dancing with me?”
With this simple question, Joey’s life changed dramatically. What he was asked about his dancing actually hit his imagination as a real question about his faith and how he was practicing it. He heard in her question the same question that the felt God was asking him about his faith.
“Are you practicing your faith with your own works, or are you dancing with Jesus in a REAL relationship?” This was a question of a lifetime.
Joey said that he realized that his faith walk was one of ‘works,” not one of a relationship. He realized that this mindset had taken over his life, his leadership, and his way of doing things. He had been living a “checklist” kind of life and not one of real engagement on a personal and relational level. He was doing this with Jesus, with his followers, and with everyone else he was dealing with at that time.
Joey changed at that moment. He said that he would now dance with Jesus on a personal level. He would dance with his own followers and make them feel as if he was trying to engage with them in a harmonious and fluid way. He would now dance every day of his life with everyone he meets so that he can be the person of influence that God has called him to be.
So, how are you dancing with your team? How are you dancing with your spouse? How are you dancing with Jesus? Are you too worried about stepping on toes and making the right moves, or are you letting go enough to experience the fragrance of a real life of enjoyment with those you are around? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories!
Tom Schulte is Executive Director of Linked 2 Leadership
He provides leadership training fit for the Blackberry-Attention-Span
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