Monday, 28 February 2011
A facilitator used this quote at a retreat I was at recently. I found it to be a powerful image. I am someone who likes to be in control and the concept of losing sight is not an easy one to consent to. I was thinking about what Gide said in the quote when I was walking in Glenveagh, Donegal, recently. The reason for this was that we ended up walking in some quite thick fog. We had a map and compass and we knew the bearings we should be walking on, but what we were lacking was a view of what was around us.
Leading people through change can be a blending of the principles involved above. Leading is about bringing others on a journey from where they are (and perhaps are comfortable) to somewhere that is unknown. This will involve trust. As a leader you are asking those who might follow to trust you. You want them to enter unknown territory and accept that they will lose sight of the known and comfortable.
This is where my walk in the hills come in. I have only recently begun to go out walking again after many years. What encourages me is a friend who has been hillwalking for many years and knows what he is doing. He also knows many of the areas we go very well.
On the occasion in question he handed me the map and compass and said that I could take the lead. It having been a long time since I held a compass, never mind found and walked to a bearing, I was a little nervous of getting it wrong! When the fog came down and our visibility was reduced to a few feet, losing sight of the hills around us what encouraged me was his confidence in my map and compass work. We negotiated the fog and reached our check points with a sense of relief.
As I lead a group of local churches I know that I am seeking to take them into new territory, I also appreciate that this will involve them trusting me as we leave familiar territory. I know that as a leader to look and see that there are people following me encourages me to keep on going. Eventually we will see the distant shore, the destination our bearing is aiming at and we will travel with more joy in seeing the goal is in sight, but there is a time when we must, as Gide says, "consent to lose sight of the shore for a long time."
What I want is for my local churches to travel hopefully, and with and expectancy. A psalm that keeps me going is the 23rd psalm. It can seem a little twee because of our familiarity with it but it is a powerful image. God is our shepherd leading, sustaining and guiding us on our journey. I hope you will join me on the journey to 'Transform Community, Radiate Christ' and whilst we are still in the fog, trust me that the map has been consulted, the bearing set and our companion is experienced!