Last Monday, we looked at the importance of communicating well, even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable. Today, we come to the place where we need to communicate. When God calls us to take the lead, it means we’re leading people somewhere. And to go somewhere, you have to leave somewhere. It’s our job to help those we lead get from here to there—and when we’re done, get ready to lead them to the next place.
Helping people let go of where they’re at and embrace what’s up ahead is a huge part of leadership. And if we’re leading, the first people who need to let go and look forward are us. Jesus knew a little about letting go of the old to embrace the new, so let’s listen to Him:
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved” (Matthew 9:16-17, NIV).
• Think about a situation you’re involved in right now that you know needs changing—that needs a “new wineskin.” What might it look like in that situation?
• For that matter, think about a earlier time when you made changes in your life—even if it was scary or painful. Looking back now, would you go back to the way things were? Why or why not?
Ever seen the movie Hoosiers? Aw, c’mon, everyone has, even if you hate basketball. But just in case: The Hickory Huskers (enrollment 64) are hours away from playing the South Bend Central Mighty Bears (enrollment 2,800) for the Indiana state high-school basketball championship. Only hours before the game, Coach Dale of the Huskers does something unusual with his team. You can watch here.
• Why did Coach Dale have his team measure the foul line and the basket?
• Think about again about your situation that needs changing. What things do you need to keep in perspective as you start to make those changes?
Let’s add yet another couple perspectives, including a passage I never get tired of:
This is what the LORD says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise (Isaiah 43:16-21, NIV).
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2, NIV).
• Why does God tell Israel to forget about when He delivered them from Egypt (Isaiah 43:18)—even though God’s goodness is worth remembering?
• Likewise, why do you need to be a living sacrifice before you can properly “test and approve what God’s will is” (Romans 12:2)?
• Think once more about your situation that needs changing. What’s keeping that change from happening?
• What could you potentially gain from those changes? Dream a little.
• Think about your last answer. How can you communicate what you just thought to those you’re leading?
Pray for those areas of change you’ve thought about today. Pray for God’s wisdom and courage—not only for yourself but for those you’re leading. Ask the Spirit to give you the right words to share that vision of change, and to prepare everyone else’s hearts to receive it and to work together to make it real. And may God bless and guide you as you lead the