It’s been a little “rails off” around here lately. We came home from a fun road trip vacation to Key West to a house being tented for termites. We knew this before we left but I guess we forgot about how inconvenient it might be not having a place to stay or anywhere to put the entire contents of our refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. Not to mention, I was starting a new job, trying to construct a new home office, getting our kids ready for school to start again. Meanwhile, two of my best friends had gone continental (one to Africa and another to the Dominic Republic). Thankfully, we could crash–all four of us with our food—at Carlee’s house since she was in Uganda.
That’s why I’ve got a few posts coming that are overdue, and few thank you’s that should have been passed out in July.
I’ll try to go easy on the positivity. I don’t want you to think that I’m a rainbow puking unicorn…all of the time.
There have been plenty of critical decisions and ideas to weigh in on. but for now, I want to say I’m thankful for the staff that mobilized Highland Park’s youth ministry this summer. One of those people was our intern, Erin. She was and is a gift to all of us. I told her a few times, that I had never had an intern quite like her before. She blew away my expectations and was able to plan a local mission trip week beautifully. Not only did she plan the whole thing, but she directed and trained the team that we gathered for her to lead. I’m so proud of her. I’ll probably be working for her someday. Until then, here’s what she has to say about leadership.
3 Things A Leader Taught Me – Erin Sigmund
I am blessed with the gift of leadership. Consult any spiritual gifts survey, ask any of my
friends, and scan my resume: my particular gifting is clear. I refuse to be anything but confident
of my gifting. However, I believe that being a great leader has less to with gifting and more to
do with learning and following. Mediocre leaders get by on their gifts. Good leaders keep on
learning. And great leaders never stop following. Therefore, as I strive to make full use of my
gift, I must make an effort to learn and follow from great leaders who came before me.
One of those great leaders is a remarkable woman named Sara Thomas. Sara was actually
the first woman that I had ever met who was working in vocational ministry. Sara follows Jesus
with everything and her passion for bringing about His Kingdom is infectious. Plain and simple,
Sara is the leader that I want to be. Working as her intern for two years and now keeping in
touch through social media, visiting when we can, I have observed, learned, and followed Sara’s
wisdom. I’d like to highlight three themes which I believe color her leadership style and have
1. Lead where God is already working – So often, we confuse innovation for leadership.
God doesn’t require leaders to always think of something new. God requires leaders to
creatively lead where He’s already at work. We cannot trade partnership with God for
the sake of novelty. Want to lead a social revolution? Find out where God is already
stirring up hearts. Want to lead people know Jesus? Find out where God is already
intersecting their lives. Want to change a city? Find out where God is already doing
transforming things and lead people there.
2. Lead before you feel prepared. – So often, we sacrifice opportunity for preparation.
God doesn’t require leaders to have a certain amount of education or experience before
He can use them. God requires leaders to take advantage of the opportunity. We cannot
give away opportunity because we don’t feel ready. If we’re honest with ourselves, no
amount of preparation makes us feel ready to lead in a messy world. Willingness to take
an opportunity and learn from it does.
3. Lead together. – So often, we trade community for efficiency. God doesn’t require
leaders to fight for their own influence. God requires leaders to find influence in the
midst of community. We cannot give into the temptation of isolation because it gets
things done and makes us look successful. We need to say yes to staff-meetings, to
dinner invitations, to letting that intern lead a project that we could do bigger and better
and faster ourselves. Our community reflects God’s nature, and in that place of
teamwork and vulnerability, we find an influence that matters.
Sara’s leadership has made a name for Jesus in the cities of Cincinnati and Columbus, as well
as in the lives of countless young people she’s mentored throughout the years. As I return to
Asbury University this fall to lead as the Vice President of Spiritual Life, I want to lead
where God is already working by investing in grass-roots movements happening on campus.
I want to rock this big, scary position in confidence, even though I don’t feel entirely
prepared for it. I want to lead with my team of “advisors to the vice president” by my side,
because even though I could probably do it myself… it’s better if I don’t. I want to make a
name for Jesus.
Erin was born in raised in Pittsburgh, PA, although she now considers Cincinnati her “heart’s
home.” She loves Disney princesses, blue-raspberry slurpees, and pretending to be
adventurous. Erin currently attends Asbury University, pursuing a BA in Youth Ministries
and Worships Arts. She blogs at erinsigmund.blogspot.com and tweets from
@GingerSigs Oh, and she’ll be job-searching very soon. Wink wink.