Picture a trail that meanders 37.2 miles through Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont along the ridge of the Taconic Mountains. The beautiful vistas viewed from the ridge are countered by the hiking reality that the ridge rises and falls over 8,000 feet of elevation change. And now, envision two novice hikers traversing the woods from end to end of the trail. I emphasize novice.
For my brother and I, the Taconic Crest Trail held a full day of trekking. We are both amateur runners, but neither of us had previously taken on a 37.2 mile challenge of any sort. We passed the time by with great conversation coupled with intentional spans of prayerful solitude. Sadly, even amidst this contemplative day, my brother rejected my offer of rice cakes as a sustaining food.
By the end of the day, our eyes brightened when my sister-in-law’s car pulled into the parking area. Once the destination was reached, our feet became heavier, our legs far less agile, and our thirst unquenchable.
Have I mentioned that this was my brother’s idea?
The hike provided wonderful experiences that will fondly stay with me over the weeks and months to come. What will stay with me the most is the time spent with my brother. The privilege of spending a whole day with him in conversation and journey generated memories that continue to surface. We did not set any hiking records that day, we did not see the most amazing view ever, but we did have a day together. The “what” of the day served as a vehicle for me to experience the “who” I was walking with. All too often, I miss the “who” of my days.
As churches, we rightfully put a lot of emphasis on leadership development. We can be quick to create a curriculum or some classes to train people. These are great steps—but we can run the danger of only emphasizing the what, and missing the who.
Just as with a long hike, the journey of leadership development needs to include plenty of time with mentors, coaches, and peers. God has not solely designed us for solitary journeys of personal growth—he has placed us in community with others to grow.
A question: am I paying attention to who is on the leadership development journey with me, or only the what of leadership? The 37.2 mile leadership development hike that we are on is an invitation to get to know the people trekking with us—an invitation that is worth taking.
If you would like to know more about SDB leadership development opportunities please go to the following link for more information and a contact tab to connect with us. SDB Leadership Development