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  • Writer's pictureAlan Pue

Equipping and Supporting: What God Made Me to Do


The world has seldom been more at risk than it was in 1940 as German forces rolled across western Europe in a manner and with ease never before seen in modern warfare.  Within a few weeks nearly every country in Western Europe had fallen to the German blitzkrieg, a shocking combination of airpower, mechanized armor, and submarine warfare.  Only the British Isles remained free of German troops and its fall seemed certain.


Yet that didn't happen. 


Skill, Courage, and Wisdom

Two unforeseen events brought

the German advance to an unexpected

halt.  The first was the successful

evacuation of virtually the entire

British army from the beaches of

Dunkirk.  That episode was as close

to a miracle as any event in the history

of warfare.  The second was the ascension

of Winston Churchill to the position of

Prime Minister.  How important was that

political decision? I say this without hesitation:

Without Churchill as its leader England likely

falls or capitulates and the history of the world looks hugely different.  Can you imagine the tragic consequences of a triumph by Adolf Hitler and Nazism?  In May of 1940 that outcome seemed a virtual certainty.

 

Lots of individuals have served in leadership positions.  Few have done so with such skill, courage, and wisdom as Winston Churchill.  And few have done so with such care for the people they led.  While Churchill was born into privilege, he never lost sight of the fact that leaders serve the people who elevate them to their position of power, not the other way around.  Even during one of the greatest challenges in history Churchill never lost sight of his responsibility to serve in even the smallest of ways.

 

A Fearless Attitude of Service

In his exceptional book, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, author Erik Larson provides a glimpse into the character of Churchill. 

Here, as in other speeches (speaking of Churchill’s stirring speeches to Parliament) Churchill demonstrated a striking trait: his knack for making people feel loftier, stronger, and above all, more courageous.  He did this on a more intimate level as well.  One summer evening at Chartwell, Churchill’s home in Kent when Churchill was dictating notes to a secretary he opened a window to admit the cooling country breeze and in flew a large bat, which began wildly careening through the room, now and then diving at the secretary.

 

According to Churchill’s bodyguard, Inspector Thompson, “She was terrified; Churchill was oblivious.  At length he noticed her convulsive ducking and asked if something was wrong.  She pointed out the fact that the bat – ‘a large and extremely hostile bat,’ was in the room.”

 

‘Surely you’re not afraid of the bat, are you?’ Churchill asked.  She was indeed afraid according to Thompson.  In response Churchill simply stated, “I’ll protect you.  Get on with your work.”  In other words, “I have your back.  So, let’s get about the work that needs to be done in this moment.”

 

Isn’t that what we hope to see in our leaders?  An unflappable, fearless attitude in the face of danger, coupled with an absolute commitment to serving others irrespective of the cost.  No leader acts that way consistently.  Even the best of leaders, like all of us, are susceptible to moments of weakness during which they can fail to fulfill their calling.  Therefore, we would be wise to thank God for those in leadership who are adept at their calling and more willing to sacrifice on our behalf.  Sadly, finding those kinds of leaders is never easy and seems to be growing ever more difficult.

 

Thus, My Calling

 

Helping leaders better become what God has called them to be is my calling. In pursuit of that, I have had the opportunity to work with numerous leaders, young and old, over many decades.  During those years I have developed a formula for identifying individuals who have the potential for leadership in service to our Lord and His people.  Remember, however, potential is no guarantee of success.

 

The components of that formula are simple.  People with capacity for leadership all typically possess the following qualities:

·      A heart for God and the people they feel called to serve.

·      A clear sense of calling.  Leadership is not simply a job.

·      Specific, identifiable, and lived out qualities of character and virtue.

·      Knowledge of both relevant content and experience.

·      Acquisition and constant sharpening of necessary skills.

·      Talent for the task.  As hard as it is for many to believe, people can’t be anything they want to be. You can, however, become better at what God has gifted you to be.

 

When working with school leaders I seek to discover whether they possess all the above.  It is my goal to encourage and equip them where they might fall short in any area.  Sometimes there is eager effort to grow.  In those cases, much can be accomplished.  Occasionally there is reluctance to invest the necessary effort or frankly, they just don’t have the talent for the task.  Those often prove to be difficult situations.  Seeking what is best for the individual and for the organization they serve is always, however, my goal.

 

Leadership is Not for Everyone. 

First and foremost, leadership is a calling of God. It is more than a skill to be developed, or content to be acquired, or a position to be filled.  And I strongly believe that God never calls someone to a task for which He does not first gift them.  I know this idea runs contrary to the American myth that you can be anything you want to be.  You can’t.  You can, however, become better at what God has called you to be.  For example, I was never going to earn a scholarship to play basketball at a Division 1 college or university irrespective of how many hours I spent on the basketball court.  Playing basketball at that level was not, however, what God had in mind for me. 

 

Helping people discover how God has made them and then engaging in the work of equipping and encouraging is, however, what God made me to do and has called me to do.  I love the opportunity I have been given to follow that calling and thank you for your willingness to pray for me and financially support me.

 

My calling has taken me to Quebec, Canada, to speak at a conference for school leaders; to Youngstown, OH to work with the leadership team at the Valley Christian School; to Bozeman, MT and Smithtown, MO to lead strategic planning boot camps for the Herzog Foundation; and to Andover, MN to work with the board of Legacy Christian Academy.

 

A Great Opportunity for Ministry

In addition, I was invited to make two keynote presentations and several workshops for the 25th Anniversary of the Association of Christian Schools International in the PhilippinesThis was the largest gathering of Christian school leaders and teachers ever in the Philippines.

  

God continues to open doors for ministry.  I recently was approached by the Herzog Foundation of Smithtown, MO (herzogfoundation.com) to help develop a Master Class for school finance in addition to the strategic planning boot I helped develop.  Please pray for that effort and others that have come my way.

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