It’s been a little over a month since I had back surgery. If anything, it has revealed how impatient I can be. Honestly, I think I was expecting to wake up the day after surgery and run a marathon (though my wife reminds me what a stupid idea that was).
I’m learning that before you can run, you have to walk. And before you can walk, you have to crawl. The problem is I prefer running. I don’t like the walking phase…much less the crawling phase. I want to take off in a full sprint.
I think this is a great metaphor for leaders. Most leaders like to run. We like to make things happen, to initiate change, to move the ball down the field. We don’t like moving at a slower pace. We want to take off in a full sprint.
One problem with this strategy is that often times it leaves those we lead behind. It takes time for our churches to catch the vision of where we’re going. It takes time for our volunteers to understand the changes we are making to make our ministry more effective. It’s not that they don’t want to follow, they just need time to get to where we, as leaders, already are. Sometimes it is beneficial to slow down and walk along side those we lead so they can catch up.
The other problem that running too far ahead can create is that sometimes it leaves God behind. We leave God out of our planning and try to make things happen on our schedule and not His. By running before walking, we can get ahead of God’s pace. We can miss His timing and the lessons He wants to teach us along the way.
As a leader, where are you running when you should be walking? What do you need to do to take people with you? Have you moved ahead of God’s plan and His pace? Sometimes leaders need to walk before they run!