Lessons You’d Better Learn

Scott Jones – Gilbert Campus Pastor

HBO did a mini-series a while back called, “Band of Brothers.” It was based on “Easy Company,” the name of (and this is a mouthful) the 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division, the “Screaming Eagles.” Their mission involved being parachuted from C-47 transport airplanes over hostile territory. Though their name was “Easy” the mission wasn’t. They served in the Battle of Normandy, Carentan, Battle of the Bulge. 

One of the more famous training exercises was the regular running of “Currahee” a large, steep hill. The phrase “3 miles up, 3 miles down” emerged from this run. The purpose of this training was to push the soldiers to their limits, and to teach them how to work together as a team. The name “Currahee” was derived from a Cherokee word meaning, ironically, “stand alone.” But no one went up alone. The mission required they go together. This is what leadership does for you. It trains you for life. It teaches you how to survive. It enables you to accomplish something bigger than you.

Leadership inspires you with a mission that can only be accomplished with others whose love, sacrifice and dedication are forged together with your own.

August 11-12 over 300,000 across our planet will come together for the Global Leadership Summit. People from every imaginable discipline will carve out precious time to learn from new people and new ideas that will enable them to make the “Currahee” run. The thought capital, talent, passion and character of the presenting leaders is unparalleled. But it is the vision, strategy and sheer amount of good that will emerge from the two days of learning that will cause a shift in the way the world works.

Central Christian Church has hosted the Summit for a decade and we have grown as a church as a result of the Summit influence. Our Senior Pastor, Cal Jernigan is a lifelong leader who has leaned into his leadership gift and elevated our church to lead and love better in every circle of influence.

Cal came to me earlier this year and invited me to give leadership over both out our Mesa and Gilbert sites. I was honored to be trusted with this responsibility and have been amazed at what I have experienced over the past several months in preparation for the Summit. Here are some of my learnings.

1. Someone has to lead. Nothing happens until a leader takes initiative. So much in the world is the way that it is, either because no one did anything or someone finally did something. We must have a bias for action. Is there something that you see every single day and you find yourself thinking, “Someone ought to do something about that?” That may be God stirring your leadership gift to take action. Leaders challenge the status quo and cry out for change.

2. Leaders need a team. An old African proverb stated, “If you want to go fast, go alone but it you want to go far, go together. There is a temptation in some leaders to do everything on their own. That only works for short time.

If you are leading anything of scale, or if you want to scale what you are currently leading, you must recruit, develop and rely on a great team.

Even Jesus assembled a team. In Mark 3:13 we read, Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. So many different things he could have done. He had every divine and human resource at his disposal. But he knew that in order for the mission to have life beyond him, his strategy had to have at its core something that could be replicated over and over again by ordinary people like you and me.

Watching the Central Summit Leadership Team get after it has been one of the greatest experiences of this effort for me. The strategy and promotion, the on site event managers, the resource team, the production team, the snacks and meals team, the operation team, the registration team, all have dedicated leaders who committed to the mission and the team they are serving. I want to thank all the Summit Leaders and their teams and when you see them at the Summit, you should too.

3. People follow people. No mission or vision is grand enough on its own to enlist undying loyalty. People do not follow mission or vision statements. People follow a leader who embodies the essence of a compelling mission and vision. There’s an old saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If we are leading, we should be loving. And if you think that loving is for lesser leaders, then I simply invite you to learn from the greatest leader of all time. Jesus died for the mission of God. He loved people. He cared about the world that he came to save. We don’t follow the red letters on a page. We follow the leader whose blood ran red on our behalf.

4. Leaders need a trusted few. Leadership can be lonely. There’s a certain burden to leadership that only a leader understands. There’s a gravity that rests on a leader because of the responsibility they carry. Even good leaders second guess themselves. So we need a few people around us who we trust. We need people who will tell us the truth not tell us what we want to hear. We need people who will support us when we have moments of doubt or fear.

The night before his crucifixion, Jesus took his “trusted few” (Peter, James and John) to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. This was his moment of anguish as he battled the forces of darkness over the souls of humanity. He let them know what it meant for them to be there for him. My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me. (Mark 14:34) I hope you have a trusted few because there is a day coming when you will need them desperately.

5. Character counts. You may not know this but there is a “Summit Scripture.” It’s all about the character of Christ. Leaders without character may get things done. They may move things forward. But often there are bodies in their wake and in the end there is chaos and destruction.

Leaders without character are dangerous.

This Summit Scripture below is what we have been reading, emphasizing and praying at our meetings in hope that God would embed it into every person who attends the Summit and every person within their circle of influence.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (Colossians 3:12-15)

I invite you to pray that Scripture for yourself, for those you lead, for the Summit and for our world. Imagine if we not only prayed it but lived it. I think we would experience the profound reality of the often repeated quote from Summit Founder, Bill Hybels: “Everyone wins when a leader gets better.”

Leadership isn’t easy but if you choose to lead you are in good company. God is inviting each of us to lead where we are with what we have been given. I pray that you steward everything and every moment with the highest integrity so that one day you hear, “Well done!”

See you at The Summit!


Lessons You’d Better Learn

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