I was reading Jim Beaird’s remarkable book, Proximity Factor this morning. He quotes Leonard Sweet, who wrote, “Leaders are neither born nor made. They are summoned.”
This resonates with my current experience. I’m in two leadership roles for which I was neither born nor made. Two leadership positions which were not part of my master plan.
During the day, I am Academic Dean at New Hope Christian College. In my off hours, I serve as Presiding Clerk of Northwest Yearly Meeting of the Friends Church. Both of these positions were offered to me without any initiation on my part; both of them started off feeling like a poor fit.
By “poor fit” I mean that neither one of them was a position I desired. I like leadership, but I had other plans for the arena of that leadership. By “poor fit” I also mean that both positions are requiring growth from me that stretches me in ways I would not have chosen.
However, being summoned means not only going where God calls, it means giving the Lord freedom to stretch me in unanticipated directions. It does not mean I live without a master plan, just that I need to hold my plan lightly so that I respond to God’s call quickly.
What this means for me is that leadership no longer connects to being in charge; leadership becomes more and more an adventure of being directed.
Beaird, Jim (2014-07-21). The Proximity Factor: Essential Disciplines in a Leader’s Spiritual Formation (Kindle Location 326). TriFactor Publishing. Kindle Edition.