Are We Just Filling Holes?

During the summer that I turned 37, my mentor asked me, Have you decided what you want to be when you grow up? And how can I help you get there?

His tone was gentle. His words were warm. But his question was serious.

It seems like the kind of question you ask a 5-year old. Or of someone who just finished high school. But at 37, much of my adult professional life has already been lived. I’ve grown in some areas, I’ve failed in others, but I’ve been doing it. Gone are the days of my idealistic youth. Idealism doesn’t leave a whole lot of margin for internal politics, unhealthy work cultures, and flawed systems. Nor does it account for the fact that we need to learn to master the “waiting game” as unfulfilled dreams to change the world rest.

Have you decided what you want to be? And how can I help you get there?

Highest Kingdom Potential

This mentor is the leader of a growing missions organization. His team is in desperate need of some new people to come on board. There is a lot to be done and several holes to be filled in order to move this ministry forward. I have the right skill sets and experiences for the job needed, so it is only natural that this job would fit me.

But, this leader didn’t say, “We really need someone to do Job X and I know the duties of Job X are not particularly your passion, or even your specific gifting. But, it is a great need and you’d be fulfilling the work of the Lord by doing this.” Instead he offered to help develop me as a leader. And although he didn’t use the words “highest kingdom potential,” that’s exactly what he was wanting for me ultimately.

I have great admiration for people who are able to say, “I’ll serve in whatever area is needed most.” That kind of willingness is commendable. Service to others is not about us. There’s a special place for toilet cleaners and paper punchers and children’s ministry workers. But, this post is not about serving. It’s about leading.

As leaders, are we drawing people out to grow them as leaders, or are we just looking to fill holes that need to be filled?

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