A Big Mistake!
No heroes are made in peace time—only in war. Mark your heroes in tough times. -Sam Chand
I loved this quote by Sam Chand. He is a leadership expert and really knows his stuff. My husband, who is also a great leader, talks about this idea as well but in a little different perspective. Let me share.
Since the inception of Freedom House Church, there have been many lessons that we have learned. One of those lessons involves this very principal and hopefully we now have it down, but we sure didn’t always. “You can’t discover your heroes until you see them in tough times.” For us this means things like observing potential leaders and/or staff in tough times BEFORE we make a decision to put something weighty into their hands or hire them. I believe some of the greatest heroes ARE those who minister the gospel and you want people who know how to fight beside you; people who don’t give up when things get tough. Eternity is the highest payout there is and you want people who know how to go through some battles without fear or intimidation. Not a novice. You see, stealing souls from hell is not an easy thing; it is hard and sometimes bloody work. You don’t want people retreating but rather running at the enemy.
I can look back and think of many examples when, if we had known this principle, it could have saved us some ground. Times where we hired people we should not have. Why? Because they weren’t good people? Nope, because we had never observed them in a battle. They were people we thought could fight but it had never been tested or proven and when it came time, they were disqualified. One such example I remember is this. I remember another staff member asking me, “Have you ever seen ‘so and so’ HAVE TO use their faith for anything? Do they know how to fight hard?” We just assumed they did because they were gifted or talented in an area. But, knowing how to fight and having a gift are very different things. We have made this mistake with leadership too, giving someone a position before we knew for certain they could withstand the 60 mph winds that ministry often brings. It is easy to lead when it is a bright, sunny day but add in a hurricane or a tornado and people are easily separated out. Those who have been through a tornado before don’t freeze or panic, they know how to react. They know what needs to be done and they know the tornado isn’t going to be raging forever, but it must be faced. You cannot ignore tornadoes.
Now, the inability to withstand storms or not know how to fight in a battle does not disqualify you or me from being used by God. I am not saying that. What I am saying though is that before you try to slay Goliath, you better have had the experience of slaying the lion and the bear under your belt. Just because David was trained to fight did not mean he knew how to until his skills were actually tested. Just being a great person does not qualify us to chase down Goliath. We need those small lessons of history to build us up and give us the courage so when it is time to fight Goliath, we don’t become the casualty. Why do you think God put the lion and the bear in David’s path? God needed to know David could do it too. God uses this principle to qualify us. If we are not faithful in the small things we won’t be faithful in the “big time” things. It is also a faith-builder for us as people too.
There are actually people in our church right now whom we would love to hire on staff or put in a position of leadership but we won’t. Not because they are not extremely talented or gifted individuals. Not because they are not sweet, kind, loving people but because we need to see if they can get their fight on. We need to see if they have scars from proven battle times. The worst thing you can do (trust me) is stick an ill-equipped, well-meaning person on the front lines of a battle. It will not be a win for the team. It will be a defeat. It will also cause others to wonder why “so and so” did not make it. It is not a great morale booster either to see someone bloody, beat up, and being carried off to triage.
If you are a leader reading this, please learn from our mistakes on this one. Watch people, listen to people, investigate people before you put them on the front lines of the battle. If you have never observed them come through a tragedy in their life or have to use their faith to press through a huge obstacle, how do you know they can take the hits when the stakes of eternity are so high? It does not mean they cannot serve in your church, just maybe not in a leadership position and certainly not a staff position. That is for dang sure! Just help them grow and learn until the appropriate time.
I’ll end with this other quote I saw. “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese!” NEVER GIVE UP!