Friday, 31 July 2015

Lead by Stepping Back

So as I finish my year at S. Luke’s UMC today, (31st July), I am posting the final team building devotion for Florida City. The past two devotions where apart of this training, that sums up a lot of what the missions department aims to instill its volunteers before they go out to serve, and thus is a lot about what I have learnt the past months. Through helping others go through this training, I definitely have had my own eyes opened, as is the intention of it all.
As I looked back at “Leading by stepping back”, I thought a lot about what it means to not lead from the forefront, and how important this is, not only when doing a joint mission experience, but while working with youth, or within a community, or even just in our everyday lives. It is about empowering others, while working side by side with them.

Lead by Stepping Back

Okay, so I am awful with stepping back, absolutely awful. Two weeks into my internship I went on retreat with the young adult missional movement, up to Georgia. Two weeks in and I needed a break, I don’t know what that says about me, but hey. So while away we did the enneagram personality test. I came out as an eight (as did Ruth by the way) with a strong 9 wing. For those that can’t immediately translate that enneagram language, it reads that I am a “leader, or challenger” with a strong “peacekeeper” wing. This means I am self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace.  
This enneagram combination gives me the title “the Bear”, but the traits do mean that at even healthy levels, I can have difficulties in giving up power and leadership…. This came as a huge surprise to my roommates… but I do honestly have difficulties if I am not in some control of my work. So today’s topic of leading by stepping back is probably the least easy for myself to give a devotion over.
Last week we were looking at gifts and assets, and in the excellent exercise that Adam did, we saw how Branches likely have as much to offer us, for our needs, as we have to offer to their needs. We are all equals and thus one group is not the leader of the other, we are all a part of one body of workers, and cookers, and child minders. We are all working together.

We read:
1 Corinthians 12:12-31
12 Christ is just like the human body—a body is a unit and has many parts; and all the parts of the body are one body, even though there are many. 13 We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jew or Greek, or slave or free, and we all were given one Spirit to drink. 14 Certainly the body isn’t one part but many. 15 If the foot says, “I’m not part of the body because I’m not a hand,” does that mean it’s not part of the body? 16 If the ear says, “I’m not part of the body because I’m not an eye,” does that mean it’s not part of the body?17 If the whole body were an eye, what would happen to the hearing? And if the whole body were an ear, what would happen to the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God has placed each one of the parts in the body just like he wanted. 19 If all were one and the same body part, what would happen to the body? 20 But as it is, there are many parts but one body. 21 So the eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” or in turn, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”22 Instead, the parts of the body that people think are the weakest are the most necessary. 23 The parts of the body that we think are less honorable are the ones we honor the most. The private parts of our body that aren’t presentable are the ones that are given the most dignity. 24 The parts of our body that are presentable don’t need this. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the part with less honor 25 so that there won’t be division in the body and so the parts might have mutual concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it. 27 You are the body of Christ and parts of each other. 28 In the church, God has appointed first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, the ability to help others, leadership skills, different kinds of tongues. 29 All aren’t apostles, are they? All aren’t prophets, are they? All aren’t teachers, are they? All don’t perform miracles, do they?30 All don’t have gifts of healing, do they? All don’t speak in different tongues, do they? All don’t interpret, do they? 31 Use your ambition to try to get the greater gifts. 

Just think on this. We are all a part of one body of believers, all of us, Branches Florida City and St. Luke’s, (Churches in Belfast, and Bangor, Northern Ireland and America) neither is greater than the other, neither has greater leadership skills than the other, neither has greater construction skills than the other, neither has greater knowledge than the other. We all have our individual skills and personality types, but together our skill sets are so wide and varied, there is no one skill or personality that overshadows the rest. This is the same for the team we will be joining in Fl City, there will be no one dominant skill. This means neither we are them are capable of leading the charge, being at the forefront in everything. Leading about stepping back isn’t just about giving others the chance to grow, or better themselves, it is also about admitting to ourselves, we can't do this alone. We cannot do it all. So when we lead by stepping back we really are leading, by being a team together, St. Luke’s and Florida City. We will be one team!
So before we leave Friday, if you haven’t already, take a personality test, do the enneagram test, or something, just to look at yourself a little closer, and then think “how will I become part of the bigger team, knowing this about myself?” 

Try taking a minute to think how this can be applied to:

  1. Your home life
  2. Social life
  3. Work life
  4. Church life


Owain Campton

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