Kobe Leading

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                               January 16, 2013

 

I am a fan of Kobe Bryant for selfish reasons. He is on my Fantasy Basketball team roster. He gets me points! I cheer for him because he helps me accomplish a purpose. Other than that I have, more often than not, rooted against him. For me, the Lakers are basketball’s equivalent of the baseball Yankees. Yankee fans are passionate, and non-Yankee fans are often passionate in their dislike of pinstripes.

Back to Kobe, though!

Kobe has always seemed to enjoy success, leading the Lakers to five NBA titles , and being a member of the 2008 and 2012  Olympic gold-medal winning USA basketball teams. Success has come as naturally as his shooting stroke.

But this season is different! This season the Lakers have struggled to find team chemistry, defense, and, most importantly, wins. On January 16 they sit at 17-22, and that includes a current two game winning streak.

Many basketball analysts, however, have taken notice how Kobe has become a better leader this season in the midst of adversity. Granted this is not a unanimous opinion, but there are many people who only equate leadership with success, victories, and good numbers.

A different kind of leadership often needs to be a part of “pit experiences.” Jesus took three leader disciples to the top of a mountain one time, and it was unanimous in their desire to stay there, but Jesus took them right back down to where the people- the common folk- were (Matthew 17:1-23). Everyone wants to be on top, but more is learned, and required, of those in the valley.

There are few books written, or articles composed, dealing with leading people in the midst of a mudslide…when it seems that things are slipping away and it is hard to get a hold.

Part of leadership is knowing that you are an anchor anchored to the rock. That is, people look to you when hope seems to be disappearing, and when troubles seem to be increasing. Part of leadership is having an anchor that holds, that stays committed and focused when others have been blinded to either the truth, the problems, or the possibilities.

“Kobe leading” as January hits mid-month is about encouraging defensive intensity, getting on teammates whose rowing speed is not with the flow of the team, and staying focused. He has had situations in the past even when the Lakers were on top of the mountain where he resorted to selfish motives and teammate bashing.

As a pastor I’ve had Sundays where it seems that I am on the mountaintop and other weeks where Death Valley would be a climb to a higher spot. But one of the many things I’ve learned over the years, and usually learned it the hard way, is that the pastor-leader is who the church looks to for hope, strength, a solid foundation, and a life that is not in chaos. It is not that pastors do not have problems and crises, but a pastor whose life is in constant turmoil is the leader that the congregation can not anchor itself to.

The pastor-leader who has been a solid earns the respect and love of his people to the point that when he/she has a crises the congregation picks the pastor up and keeps him/her from harm. In essence, the congregation keeps the pastor standing up.

“Kobe leading” this season will development qualities in Kobe Bryant that he may never have needed or known about before. Leading from the bottom gives you a different perspective.

A few years ago the basketball team I was assistant coach for went 1-22. No one wants to be 1-22, but that team learned a lot about life that year. Life lessons of persevering when you just want to quit. I’ll remember the seniors on that team who hung in there, and the fact that they were, and are, great young people.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Community, Faith, Grace, Jesus, love, Pastor, Story, Teamwork, The Church, Uncategorized, Youth

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