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

If a ministry is based off the Great Commission, then it must be contributing to making disciples who are making disciples.  Too often I come across ministries that throw around buzz words like “build the kingdom” and “make disciples,” but there is little evidence of that actually occurring over time.  They often have not even made an attempt of defining what a disciple might look like in the 21st century.

This can be blamed on the season they are in, changes in the organization, or a host of other excuses. Yet ultimately, a ministry that is not involved intentionally in supporting the making of disciples is actually just a religious program.  It’s leaders and or its participants simply don’t have clear vision for why they exist or what they are supposed to be doing.

Mountain biking is practically impossible if you can’t see where you are going.  You have to be able to see what’s in front of you in close proximity, as well as up ahead, often at the same time.  Adjustments will need to be made or you can literally go flying off the side of a cliff in epic fashion.  This happened to my son awhile back, and he broke his collarbone.  Real dangers exist!

On one of my first rides, my more experienced friend suggested I get some sort of glasses to protect my eyes from the elements (tree limbs, dirt, etc) and to help me see more clearly while spinning through the wooded Ozark mountains that exist in our area of the country.  One particularly sunny and  bright morning I thought I was being smart and I put on my uber dark sunglasses.  I didn’t give it a second thought until I was well into the ride, and I realized that I couldn’t see very well in the shadows.  I assured myself this probably wouldn’t be a problem.

Soon after, it became a problem. At one point I was hurtling down an incline at a speed that must have exceeded 20mph, and I was shocked to see barbed wire on the path in front of me.  I put on the breaks, and as my bike began to leave the ground I jumped/fell off and miraculously landed on both of my feet and slid to a stop as my bike catapulted into a somersault down the trail.

I slid right over the barbed wire.  I was amazed I hadn’t fallen into it or been cut, but then I took of my sunglasses which were exceedingly dark.  I didn’t see any barbed wire.  In it’s place someone must have placed a harmless small branch with small sprigs protruding from it. Oops!  I had almost been in a bad accident because I thought I saw something that wasn’t there, because my vision was bad!  I needed the correct lenses, and my lack of preparation nearly caused me greater problems.

If your are a ministry leader, just like in mountain biking, vision is everything!  Know what you are trying to do, why you are trying to do it, and how you are going to respond as you lead forward.  Otherwise you might not only have an accident, you may be the blind person causing it!


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