What makes some leaders more influential, efficient, and productive? There is no formula, but here is a list of 7 things I’ve observed that successful leaders do differently.
I smell the presence of snow. Tiny crystals of water float loosely in heavy crisp air. Each breath refreshes and soothes the cavities of my nose with moisture. The maturing fall season triggers a conditioned reflex response. I salivate for my first turns on untracked pristine white snow.
For many youth today, their ipod or iphone is more important for them to have close at hand than anything else in their backpack. Since outdoor ministry is about first about transformation, outdoor leaders who understand the art of facilitation need to view this seeming obstacle to a “true wilderness experience”, as an opportunity to help young people see how their addiction to connectivity might be wounding their soul.
My friend Steve White writes about how God used time in the wilderness to show him that all his life he had been a workaholic. His wounds made him aloof to the needs of his wife and children, and ultimately led his family to a complete train wreck. In Steve’s words, the reason why his family went through such brokenness was because as a man, he had spent most of his adult life, “Blinded by Good Intentions.” If you are looking for men’s ministry ideas or inspiration to start a men’s ministry, this is a good place to start. Steve gave me permission to share a few excerpts from his book, “Blinded by Good Intentions”.
The ropes course was thrilling, but I knew that my soul needed to be refilled. The wilderness was wooing me. I’m not just into the adventure. I’m into adventures with Jesus. With that attitude, outdoor adventures becomes another opportunity to experience God.
Most backcountry enthusiasts follow the mantra, “leave no trace.” Like the attitudes we cop when we have to “share the trail” with someone who is doing something different than us, I was reminded on the trail this past weekend that our sin can also leave a measurable impression. Like so many spiritual metaphors, time in the outdoors is a wikipedia of object lessons. We may think we are without sin or our rebellion only affects ourselves but more likely our behavior leaves a trail “littered with loose debris.”
Oswald Chambers’ devotional, My Utmost for His Highest is chocked full with wisdom and illustrations for outdoor ministry applications. One my favorites is his October 2nd reflection, “The Sphere of Humiliation,” based on the mountain of transfiguration in Mark 9:2-32.
If you ever feel tempted to believe that you can’t make a difference, or that your vote doesn’t count, consider a story from the 4th century about a Monk named, Telemachus. His courageous and selfless act forever changed a culture.
One sound softens my heart and soothes my soul more than any other: the trickle of a brook, the gurgle of a tributary, the gush of a stream, the rush of a waterfall, the roar of a river, and the hush of a waterway. Each sound summons a deep restful peace.
I love opening up the door to my tent in the early hours of the morning after a good night sleep. As I unzip the door, who knows what I will see: A stunning sunrise, an unsuspecting moose just minding his own business in the marsh below my camp, or a thick fog hanging over the valley below as I peer out from the vista of my alpine bivvy. Like the view from my tent, I also wake up each day with a view of the world that is based upon my knowledge, beliefs, and experiences.