The Yo Yo of Leadership

Strange thing being a leader. It doesn’t matter how you feel, you are still a leader. It doesn’t matter what kind of day you are having, people still look to you and you are a leader. If you are a leader it is hard to stop leading, it naturally happens.

Every day is different, and that has certainly been true this week. At the beginning of the week I thought I had malaria, and NO! it was not man flu. Temperatures at night, banging headaches… there was still plenty to do though. When you are living with a team, you can’t get away or switch off very easily, even if you are feeling unwell. Everyday has been like a yo-yo. When I get unwell, I get fed up. When I get fed up it’s like an energy sapping spiral that I sometimes struggle to lift my head above. Other days you feel on top of the world. It’s a strange old life.

It’s those times of trouble, that mean you really have to dig in. The old questions trot out… am I really called to this? can I really do this? The same old song time and time again. It’s a song that is loved by the enemy and our own self doubt. And yet, the answer of course is Yes…. you always know that, and yet that same feeling can wage war against your resolve and will.

Out here I’m a leader on a good and a leader on a bad day. Others look to me no-matter how I am. They don’t see the real Jon, they see an image I project, they see what I can dare show to them. ‘Them’ is everyone from my own team, to Churches, to friends…..

And yet, despite all of that, I wouldn’t swap being a leader. My wife Jude would say that I simply couldn’t not be. I sometimes dream of stacking tins at Tesco’s but I know that within an hour a secret revolution would be taking place in the aisles. Things would be changed and I would be sacked…. I’d still lead though, I think.

When you lead you are in it for the duration. People and things become dependent upon you. You gain responsibility, and part of you thrives, sometimes you are in tune with what you were created to do and you feel fully alive.

As I journey on, I see how some people look to me. Caspa who is a leader in the bush working with Life! was seriously ill the other day. Moaning, groaning, writhing around. We had to rush him to hospital. In the evening I went to see him, gave his wife some food and made sure they were OK. On my way back I realised that I was responsible for these guys, I wandered how I would look after them later in the year when I am in the UK. God has made sure that their fight is my fight, and as we line up side by side in God’s great plan, I’m responsible for them. I must keep them going, I must encourage them, I must make sure that they are protected. We must go forward together. Maybe, without me they would fall. Maybe without them I would fall also….

To do something that God calls you to do, consumes you. There are no half measures. You are in it, however you feel. The war and fight rage on, whether you pitch up or not. I don’t know how you see your leaders, but next time you see them, encourage them. You really do not know the value of that. You don’t see the effect of your words upon their heart and life. They have a great effect.

I always think of Jesus, who stood up in the synagogue and said that the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on Me… etc. Imagine the weight of those words, simply upon his own heart. The weight of his own expectation. Jesus stood in it to the end. “No greater love has a man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends”. Ultimately that is what a leader is, someone who lays down his life. What a leader Jesus was.

Some days you are feel in, some days you feel out, but a leader is always a leader.


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