I sing a certain song when I rock my daughter to sleep because if my mom were still alive it’s what she would sing.
That probably sounds hokey to some of you, and that’s okay. While mom was alive any time she would rock my three boys to sleep she would sing, “You are my sunshine”. Now that she’s not here I want to extend that song and the emotional connection, to my daughter Kinley, who mom never got to meet. When I sing, I tell her “this is what Mimi would be singing if she was holding you”.
I was recently talking to a friend in ministry who has made it a point to pour into my life, lessons on leadership, ministry, and family. He is in a rough season of discouragement in his present ministry context, and it pained me to hear him talking about his lack of things to offer anymore. I said to him, “what you don’t realize is that when we launched a new campus with great attendance, awesome volunteers, and what we believe to be the beginning of fruitful ministry…and that is in part because of you. You’ve never been here or met these people, but you are leading through me. Some of the things you taught me, I’m teaching these people.” I reminded him of other ministers he had influenced over the years and what God was doing in and through them in recent days. I reminded him that he made it a point to pour into us, and we were now pouring those things out to influence others. I said, “your influence reaches far beyond what you can see when you stand up on Sundays at your church”.
The only way to insure that your influence surpasses your current context is to make it a priority to invest in people who will carry that influence elsewhere.
1) Don’t, not do it, out of fear for your own position. Invest in people. Replacing yourself is the most selfless thing you can do in leadership.
2) Don’t, not do it, because you don’t think you have anything to offer. Your experiences, both big and small, set up the next leader to be prepared when they face similar things.
3) Do it because they need it. Every human being on the planet wants to be affirmed, valued, and chosen. As you choose and invest in them you help validate their potential.
4) Do it because you need it. If your life is only about what you accomplish with your own hands, when you die, your influence dies with you. But if you invest in others…if you empty your cup of leadership into as many people as you can…neither your dark days of discouragement nor your ultimate passing can stop the influence that God has entrusted to you.
I sing to my daughter because my mom’s not here to do it. I sing her song, because it keeps her alive just a little bit longer.
Who can you teach a “song” too, that someone once taught you?