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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

How to Grow a Leader...

Are Leaders discovered, born, designed.... Or are they grown?

At the weekend my wife and I joined an amazing group of people from around the Salvation Army's West Midlands Division (UK Territory) on a leadership training course, which as you can see from the picture was called 'Growing Leaders'

Now some of you out there might be natural Leaders, you may have all the skills, talents and gifts handed directly to you from God. For lots of us though, it can be a long and difficult struggle to grow and develop, it can take time, energy, prayer, study and great encouragers who believe in us and are prepared to take the time to guide and walk beside us. I consider myself truly blessed and honoured to have been supported and guided by the incredible, Spirit filled prayer warriors that have walked beside me this far.

How are Leaders grown? Some would probably say: 'Trial by fire' or 'Sink or swim' others might say prayer and study. The truth is probably something of each. Trials refine and strengthen us, but to find the strength to face and overcome them we have to do the groundwork of study, prayer and discipline to help us always remain in God's presence and strength.

So, back to the weekend; set apart from the busyness of life and work each delegate arrived with different thoughts, hopes and expectations and each of us I think, signed up for this course for different reasons. Myself it was to help me grow, develop and prepare for future ministry and service. The weekend was filled with study, prayer and reflection. The weekend left me reflecting on my journey so far, how I've got here, those that have walked beside me, carried me, those that have inspired me and of course how far I still have to travel.

Many people have taught me and inspired me, lots of them just by being themselves and being an example. I guess most of them probably don't know how much they teach and inspire me. But each of them have helped build and grow me as a person and as a Christian.

Now, growth is sometimes time consuming and painful, but it is necessary, I think the key to growth is a decision to grow, to build and to continually learn.

There are leaders and heroes inside all of us, if you've ever been broken down, rejected, hurt or just basically been told that you're not good enough; don't believe it! You have the potential and spirit within you to be all that you can be, and more importantly to become what God wants you to be.

I often look back and am surprised how far I have come, and I wonder what the biggest factor to my growth has been. I always seem to come back to a Bible verse that has become a real focus point of my Christian life and walk:

"Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me." - Psalm 144: 1-2

That is the biggest thing I think that this course has taught me...That God is at the heart of all my growth, development and inspiration. Among the many things I have learned this is what will remain with me the most, that it is God who makes all things grow...including reluctant and unprepared Leaders like myself who need God's encouragement, presence and occasional kick up the backside to be the very best I can be.

"So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." 1Corinthians 3:7

And finally here's the tagline, focus point and motto of the weekend's course which has inspired me and will I hope stay with me in all I do:

"To be led more by Jesus, to lead more like Jesus, to lead more to Jesus."

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Disclaimer: the opinions and comments expressed in this blog are personal and do not necessarily represent the views and policies of the Salvation Army

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