Graham Bryant and Ashley Lavigne (aka Nova or Linear Lady) are in Sarajevo, Bosnia, where it’s always winter and never Christmas. It’s the 2nd year there for both. Graham, who played hooky and skipped 2006 STINT Team Leaders Trg, was at the 05 Training and led the year before too. This is Nova’s first year as a Co-Leader. The ministry in Sarajevo that they lead consists of ‘straight up evangelism’ for the most part. If you haven’t already you can read how they look for ways to transition to the gospel.
When I asked Nova who are some people of influence in her life, she mentioned - in addition to Sara Groves - Cindy Stephens who is her discipler/mentor at her church back in Dallas – Georgia, not Texas. Nova said, “I’ve known her family for years. I was in the youth group with her daughters. When I graduated from high school, she and I served in youth ministry together. I discipled her youngest daughter for years, and Cindy has discipled me for the past several years, too. She’s in the lay counseling ministry at my church, so she’s always speaking truth to me, talking most of the time about our identity in Christ and the battle between the flesh and the Spirit.”
Thinking of this dear lady’s influence on Nova I am reminded of what I heard this past week at our regional staff conference in Estes Park. (Ironically we were at the Stanley Hotel a week before the SciFi Channel was there ghostbusting.) We heard from Reggie McNeil who has written several books like Practicing Greatness (on the side bar) and The Present Future. Reggie said “leadership is not positional, it is personal.” (Or at least that is what I wrote in my notes.)
I keep thinking about that phrase and what it means. These are some comparison / contrasts along those lines that I came up with…
Positional Leadership is lording it over others. Personal Leadership is serving others.
Positional Leadership is self-centered. Personal Leadership is others-centered.
Positional Leadership thinks of how to change what is bad in those under us. Personal Leadership thinks of how to champion what is good in those under us.
Positional Leadership evaluates others. Personal Leadership elevates others.
Positional Leadership is overbearing. Personal Leadership is bearing one another in love.
Positional Leadership is about pride. Personal Leadership is about humility.
Positional Leadership is being parental. Personal Leadership is being a peer.
Positional Leadership is exalting self. Personal Leadership is dying to self.
Positional Leadership is all truth. Personal Leadership is speaking the truth in love.
Positional Leadership is top-down. Personal Leadership is bottommost.
Positional Leadership inspects. Personal Leadership inspires.
Positional Leadership is commanding. Personal Leadership is compassionate.
Positional Leadership cares about what others think. Personal Leadership cares about others.
Positional Leadership is about demanding respect because of our headship. Personal Leadership is about commanding respect because of our heart.
Positional Leadership is concerned about fame. Personal Leadership is content with being found faithful.
Positional Leadership is ‘do as I say’. Personal Leadership is ‘follow my example’.
Positional Leadership is thinking it’s about me. Personal Leadership knows that is not about me – it’s about Him. (You didn’t really think I could go long without coming back to “The Warning” did you?)
My final parting thought is that we often seek to elevate those of you like Graham and Nova who are peer leaders. But maybe we have it backwards. Maybe those of us who are in leadership and on staff (the professionals with the positions and super long titles if we didn’t use so many abbreviations) need to lower ourselves to lead on a personal level as peers. Are not we all peers in the body? No one is higher than anyone else since the playing field is level at the foot of the cross. That’s something we all can noodle on this All Saint’s Day. Selah.