Posted tagged ‘leadership’

Kobe Leading

January 16, 2013

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.

Puttering Along With The Sheep

January 8, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                      January 8, 2013

One of the stories in the Bible that stands out as an incredible moment of connection between the Holy and a person is the Exodus 3 account of Moses encountering a burning bush. It is the distinctive call of God to the person he has prepared to lead his people.

But it took a bush to catch on fire for Moses to notice! It’s a bush that has an angel in it (Exodus 3:2)! Moses comes over to look for the bush isn’t burning up. He knows from his knowledge of nature that when a bush catches on fire it is quickly toasted!

It took a bush!

You see, Moses seems to have become content with the direction of his life. Growing up in Pharaoh’s palace was a distant memory. It’s as if he has lived two lives- one before he was s shepherd, and now the current one. He seems content to just putter along with the sheep. I can see him sitting on a hillside looking at the herd that belonged to his father-in-law (another Jethro! Go figure!), with a strand of straw sticking out of his mouth like Jethro from the old TV series called “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

The sheep needed some new grazing ground, so Moses puttered along with them to the next field over.

If God hadn’t lit that bush on fire Moses would have been a “career putterer.”

Zipporah: Moses, dear! What did you do today?

Moses: Well, let’s see, I puttered along behind the ewes over to the north 40; and then this afternoon I puttered back here with them.

Zipporah: That’s the same thing you did yesterday.

Moses: That’s the same thing I do everyday, dear!

 

For some of us God has to light a match to get us going. Some of us have to see something that doesn’t initially make any sense for God to get our attention. For others it is a journey that has us constantly in a state of spiritual discovery and awareness.

But let’s be honest! Many of us putter through life like a spiritual zombie putting one foot in front of the other and not having a clue as to what it happening.

“Puttering” is easier than pursuing!

I once heard that every episode of The Beverly Hillbillies was based on mis-communication or a lack of communication. Seems like walking in spiritual putter has the same plot.