WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO LEAD?
EPIC MISSIONAL TEAM LEADERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY AT A RETREAT IN OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA
For most of my (Whitney) life I pictured leaders with furrowed brows, tall statures, and big, strong hands that were perfect for enveloping others' hands when shaking them, waving proudly, and arm wrestling--probably. It's not that surprising that I would have that image given that I grew up in Houston, Texas and fully indoctrinated in Disney. It's also not a bad thing that my picture of leadership involved very serious demeanors and very tough choices along with a mix of charm that made the seriousness and toughness easier to swallow. Yet, in this picture of leadership, I would rarely see myself or any leader-like qualities mirrored in my own qualities.
The last couple months, I've been sitting in Moses' story and particularly focusing on his leadership. Though Moses (the one from the Sunday School stories and The Ten Commandments) fit my above characteristics of a leader, he himself saw things differently. I found myself relating to some of his leadership "issues" and curious how his leadership changes as he walks with the Lord through delivering Israel from Egypt, then wandering for forty years in the desert. He goes from holding onto a specific idea of who is supposed to lead the Israelites (and it isn't him!) to embracing the identity as the one sent by God to deliver His people: "God said to Moses, 'I am who I am.' And he said, 'Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)
CHARLTON HESTON AS MOSES IN THE FILM "THE TEN COMMANDMENTS" (1956)
Before Thanksgiving, Epic held its first MTL (Missional Team Leader) conference in Oceanside, CA where we looked at Moses' leadership. Moses's humility, worship, and trust in the Lord was all that got him through. I find the most challenge and peace in Moses' Psalm (Psalm 90: 1-2):
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
I'm not a particularly political person, but I know that November 8, 2016 made very clear to me that personal leadership is increasingly important to think about and step into. As followers of Jesus who've been entrusted with leading and serving college-aged individuals, I'm honored to have opportunities to trust God like Moses did. And, I'm immensely grateful for your prayers and your trust in the Lord with us.