Solutions June 2018 - Page 10

Lead Like a Shepherd By Larry Osborne In one sense, every leader leads by example, even those who don’t realize it. That’s because at the end of the day, every follower is a boss watcher. They take their cues from what we do, not what we say. It doesn’t matter if they’re a volunteer, a member of a congregation, a part of a small group, or one of our kids. As a former youth pastor, I learned this the hard way. I had the privilege of leading two youth ministries that appeared on the surface to be very successful. They were dynamic, filled with lots of kids, and life changing. At the time, I thought we were making a huge long-term impact for the kingdom. But ten years later I realized the impact of my ministry was a lot less than I had thought. The majority of the kids who had been in my youth groups had grown up to become far more like their parents than the students they were in high school or college. They adopted the values, standards, and priorities of their parents. Fortunately there were many cases where the biblical values, standards, and priorities I’d taught them as high schoolers and collegians aligned with what was modeled in their 10 • Solutions homes. There were also some outliers who permanently broke free of the family mold. But in most cases, it was the gravitational pull of their parents’ example that won the day. While I was thrilled that a large number continued to walk with God, I came to realize my role was a lot smaller than I’d thought. My example and teaching nudged them along the way. But it was the example set by the authority figures and leaders they spent the majority of their time with that had the most influence upon the kind of men and women they would become. I shouldn’t have been surprised. JESUS SAID IT WOULD BE THIS WAY Jesus said, “Everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher” (Luke 6:40). Notice what he didn’t say. He didn’t say that a fully trained disciple will become like what his teacher teaches. He said a fully trained disciple will become like his teacher. One of the most important lessons every leader needs to learn is summed up in the old saying, “What you are is what you’ll get.” It’s not what we say. It’s not what we teach. It’s who we