An exercise you may find very helpful is to get a piece of paper and ask God to help you write a description of what kind of leader you want to be 10 or 20 years from now (p. 65).In twenty years, I’ll be seventy, so I thought I’d better go with ten years out. What kind of leader do I want to be in 2019?
I want to be an unhurried leader, someone who exemplifies the harpoonist of Eugene Peterson’s illustration, who sits in the bow of the whaling boat, calm, patient, while all around him is frenetic activity...and he does this in order to leap into action when the moment comes. It is effective action born out of purposeful tranquility.
I want to to be a focused leader, doing a few things extremely well. I want to be prayerful. I want to be the absolute best preacher I can be. I want to train new leaders, preachers, and prayer warriors. I want to be focused most of the time in my areas of strength and allow others, like Aaron and Hur, to shore up my many weaknesses.
I want to be a healthy leader. I want to be an example to the flock in my marriage. In my relationship with my kids and grandkids. In my eating and exercising. In my friendships. In my mental and emotional health.
I want to be a missional leader. I want people to look at me and say, there’s a man who is fulfilling the Great Commission, and intent on and effective in helping others to fulfill.
I want to have a rhythm as a leader. I want to stop feeling constantly under the gun, “with ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go,” to quote James Taylor.
I want to be a leader who successfully passes the baton to others. I’ve witnessed the suffering of churches whose pastors hold on to position too long, long after they might have passed it on with great results for the Kingdom of God. I don’t want to make that mistake. I want the wisdom and humility to recognize when the moment is right to pass the baton to my successor(s).
Alas, it will be quite a task to make that happen, as I don’t think any of those things is true of me and my leadership now. But God is a God of miracles, and I will pray for these six miracles to be performed in me between now and 2019.