10.1 Ministry is like Mountain Biking – DRIVING OVER BRAKES

As I have been learning how to be more of a serious mountain biker on legitimately challenging trails, I have noticed many thing that are similar to leadership principles applicable to ministry.

I was reminded today of a big one. I was hurtling down the side of a steep mountain trail between boulders and stones, when some old advice popped back into my head. It came from a very unlikely source at a very unlikely time, but had and continues to have many applications in my life. Many years ago I was talking about relationships with several young adults. One of our “wilder” college aged students was present. He was and is still a great guy, but at the time he was very rough around the edges. Even his appearance was a bit shocking for 1996. Double earrings. Pierced tongue. Some tattoos. Not necessarily normal for a young adult at the time, but he pulled it off. He was a cool dude, inside and out.

As we were discussing having boundaries in dating, the topic of lust and physical touch came up. I spoke of how our biggest goal should be to honor God in our relationships, and part of that reality meant avoiding situations where pre-marital sex might be a temptation. Brad suddenly spoke up. “You mean trust your driving, not your brakes.” I missed the analogy entirely at first, and was a bit stunned at how we had slipped into a discussion about highway safety. He noticed my confusion, so he continued. “You know. If you are with a good looking girl in a private place, you might want to start messing around in ways you shouldn’t that doesn’t honor God. Then once you start doing that, it won’t be satisfying enough, and you will want to start doing more than just messing around. Before you know you it, you can both end up, ya know, naked. If you would have never steered yourself into a bad situation where there wasn’t any accountability, you wouldn’t have to worry about putting on the breaks to stop yourselves from having sex. So make good choices so that you can trust your driving instead of your brakes.” I was both stunned at how quickly the conversation had gone past a G rating, and also at how succinctly he made a powerful and wise point.

I started to break while I was approaching some trees at a quick pace, but it really wasn’t necessary. Breaking when you are mountain biking is sometimes necessary, but just as often you can avoid danger by changing direction ever so slightly. “Trust your driving not your brakes,” popped into my head, and I easily avoided the danger.

This advice is applicable in dating, in mountain biking, and also in ministry leadership. If you are careful to be in prayer and the Bible on a regular basis, plan ahead, consult wise men and women of God, I believe you can boldly steer through and around many leadership difficulties that will arise. Sometimes you do need to stop when you are wrong, and even change direction, so I’m not advocating blindly steering into a rock of sin.

I’ve taken this analogy long enough. It needs cleaned up. I’m out of time.


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