inspire movement.

7 Feb

a dear friend recently said to me ::

if you move people with your dream and not theirs, you’re just pushing them.

want movement? inspire them to chase after their own dreams.

so often leaders push and pull people to where we want them to be.

visionaries.  reformers.  dreamers.  pastors.  leaders.  as we look over the landscape ahead and consider those whom we are leading, reflecting on how things are, we want to move them.  from here to there.

yet most of the people we are leading don’t realize that here – the status quo –
is unacceptable.

as i’ve written in a previous post, in order to get people to move from here, you’ve got to show them what’s wrong with the current position.  people won’t willingly change what is both comfortable and acceptable.  change is always uncomfortable; therefore, maintaining the status quo will always be more comfortable than changing it.

if that is true, then real leadership both requires and demands the ability to communicate that here – the status quo – is unacceptable – and offer an alternative : there.  in order to create movement, leaders are called to inspire a desire to change.  that dream – that vision – must become theirs.  they’ve got to own it.  to want it.  they’ve got to become convinced that the status quo is unacceptable.

it’s the only way to bring about change.  growth.  progress.

yet when we attempt to move people before they’re ready, we are simply pushing them.  even if we do get them to move forward, we’re unwittingly sowing seeds of frustration, distrust, dissension, and discontent.

that’s the difference between herding and shepherding.

herding people is easy.  gathering folks around a cause or a controversy doesn’t take a lot of work.  throw a theological grenade into a room and watch people get excited.

that part is easy.

the hard thing, the thing i’m learning to understand the critical importance of, is how to shepherd that group of people – to lead them to places they can find nourishment and strength, where they can safely rest in the midst of being stretched.  patiently waiting until they’re ready to move to new pastures.  developing in them a core desire to navigate a change of course… to inspire movement.  to inspire them to desire to change.  to empower them to chase after their own dreams.

that’s hard.

and that’s what i’m trying to learn.

what are your thoughts?

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2 Responses to “inspire movement.”

  1. Jim Fisher February 8, 2012 at 7:37 AM #

    I love your herding/shepherding contrast. My daughter wants to involve her entire small town — businesses, churches, school, everyone — in a service project. I could just tell her how to do it, who to contact, how to set it up, how to market it. That would be herding. Instead, I encouraged her to allow the Holy Spirit to develop the images of the dream in her heart and head. Then pay close attention to who the Spirit brings alongside her to help make it happen. Pray always. Seek confirmation. Follow whatever seems to fit into the picture.

    The other day she stopped for coffee. A very nice man behind her asked her name, where she lived, and offered to buy her coffee. They sat down and started talking.

    He is the mayor.

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