Many years ago, 27 to be exact, my best friend’s husband was being relocated to a military base. This in itself was difficult as I loved her dearly. The other factor making a huge impact was the part of her being the director of a well-known AOG children’s ministry, Missionettes. She was fabulous! I on the other hand was her “helper.” I served perfectly happy as the craft person. I went from class to class each Wednesday night & devoted time with the kids performing arts & crafts. This was my niche. We were a busy group with meetings, camps, promotions, etc. & I loved to assist!
The Christian Education leader was a brilliant, resourceful, passionate, woman named Doris Asbury. She talked about kids as though there was nothing more important on the face of the earth than ministering to them. I, on the other hand, had 1 kid of my own, but didn’t like kids. I know that is weird, but it was true. I liked crafts. Teaching kids annoyed me. Doris would tell stories that would hold your attention forever concerning how to teach kids. I would listen & think, there is no way I would ever get this thrilled over children’s ministry. You can imagine the number of times I rolled my eyes & let the speech go in one ear & out the other. Yes, I was not interested.
No way until my friend moved leaving a huge, gaping hole for that program. Doris called me to her office & informed me I had to be the director because I knew everything about the program. I laughed & said, “No way, I am a follower not a leader!” She strongly encouraged me that I had to do it because there was no one else. I leaned across her desk & told her she had one month to find a replacement. 30 days! I was adamant the director was not going to be me. I went home, got on my face & admitted my dislike of teaching kids to God & asked Him to give me His heart. One month turned into 4 yrs. Our program grew, we had teachers & assistants for each class, each child & teacher had uniforms, we entered & won many promotions, attendance was at an all time high, missionaries would visit us while on furlow & I sincerely learned to love kids. Each age group that I declared I would NEVER teach, I taught at some time, falling deeply in love with them. One night during pre-class praise & worship, a 3 yr. old gave her heart to Jesus. A couple of months later she & her father died in a car accident. Children would pray for their parents, friends, lives & their tender spirits melted our hearts. That 4 years was the most incredible time I have ever had.
Having that background, several years later I was the program director for Saturday Sunday School which operated out of our Bible School. Along with my administrative duties, I was a clown! Literally! I painted my face each Saturday, wore my bright clown outfit & loved my time with kids. To this day, kids have a very special place in my heart. Such a place that there are times I feel like giving everything I own away, taking my favorite red back pack & moving to Brazil to work in our MORE Project. I would trade room & board for teaching Life Skill Classes! This haunts me more some days than others. Working in Singles Ministry for over 17 years, having such a passion for single moms & their kids mirrors the ministry there & I feel it would extend I feel called to do.
This passion & love would have never been developed had Doris not strongly encouraged me to stand in the gap, & make up the hedge. She was a leader who developed leaders. Leaders accept you where you’re at, but love you into the future. I am forever grateful Doris loved me enough to love me into children’s ministry. Since 2006, I have been extremely blessed to be partners in a leadership development organization. I believe leadership is lacking in our nation in epic proportions. I listen to personal development CD’s every morning while getting ready for work & throughout the day while driving, or at home instead of watching TV. This morning a quote was given that I had to research because it pierced my soul (mind, will & emotions).
We live in the crucible of a most extraordinary moment in time. Never
before have we faced the vast ethical and leadership challenges that lie
before us today. Those leaders who guided the moral fabric of society
up to this point are coming to the end of their leadership careers. New
leaders must be empowered to take their place. Who will share the vision
of emerging leaders? – Mentoring Leaders , Arrow Leadership
My story of time spent with children is just a mere fraction of what our nation needs. Percentages of absentee fathers, abandoned children, divorce, business failures, & character compromises increase on a minute to minute basis. I have repeated the word crucible over & over today. The definition that screams loudly at me is this: a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development.
Never before has our nation, or planet for this matter, needed a more concentrated force of influence than right now. I can’t force anyone to change. I can, however, change myself & emulate the change. John Maxwell, #1 World Leadership Guru says, ‘Leadership is influence.” I love the quote, “A rising tide raises all ships” & I believe we need a tidal wave of leadership development in our midst.
Just as I fell in love with teaching kids, I have fallen in love with learning. There are ka-zillions of sources for leadership development, but I have always had discernment on who to follow. Numerous opportunities, both in business & ministry, have presented themselves to me, yet in my spirit, I knew to walk away from countless many. I have had the privilege to learn from the #7 & #12 World Leadership Gurus, best-selling authors, & other credible men / women who have earned their respect. This association has broadened my horizon & helped me gain a perspective unlike any other. This is a leadership movement like no other.
If you feel called to become the person God has intended you to become & have no idea where to begin, there is hope. There is a world-class educational system in place for you to learn from. Executives, corporations, renown ministries & organizations use it on a daily basis. It is a level playing field as we all have much to learn & lots of growing to do. Peter Senge once stated in an interview, that a learning organization is a group of people working together to collectively enhance their capacities to create results they really care about. This describes the mutual passion of those involved in our education system to the letter.
As the quote mentions above, who will share in the vision of emerging leaders? Will you answer the call?