“Lead from the back–and let others believe they are in front.” –Nelson Mandela
Good leaders empower their teams. Good leaders lead from the back.
Whether you are the synodical women’s organization (SWO) president, the Women of the ELCA unit president, committee chair within the band booster or a volunteer with Scouting, empowerment or leading from the back means giving others the power to make significant decisions.
As leaders, we need to nurture future leaders.
“Support one another in our callings” is one of the phrases in our Women of the ELCA purpose statement. I am grateful for the women who supported me in my calling when I was the president of our congregational unit. I am grateful to the women outside my church who served on the SWO board at the time. Was it my goal to serve on the SWO board and later became Nebraska’s SWO president? No! They affirmed my gifts; they encouraged me to listen. Listen, God is Calling! as the Fifth Triennial Gathering (2002) theme suggested.
Peter tells us “Be shepherds of God’s flock, the believers under your care. Watch over them, though not because you have to. Instead, do it because you want to. That’s what God wants you to do. Don’t do it because you want to get money in dishonest ways. Do it because you really want to serve.” (1 Peter 5:2, New International Reader’s Version)
Becoming involved in Women of the ELCA began when Sandy Hall asked me to attend as her daughter to the mother-daughter tea because her daughter was away at college. Sandy was the first person I met the first day I went to Lord of Love Lutheran Church. She saw me and introduced herself to me. That was 25 years ago.
[bctt tweet=”Servant leadership means leading from the back and leading alongside the flock.”]
Since then, I’ve been given the opportunity to be a part of God’s flock: to meet new friends, to grow in my spiritual walk, to open my ears to listen, to open my eyes to see others wanting to become involved.
I’ve also been able to become a shepherd, growing my leadership skills with Women of the ELCA which has helped me serve other organizations.
Servant leadership means leading from the back and leading alongside the flock. We can do so much more together. We can grow together as each of us walks our journeys. We can pick up each other when we stumble, and we can celebrate our successes together.
Peter told us to “Be shepherds of God’s flock.” How have you been a shepherd? How have you led from the back? How have you listened to God’s calling?
Gwen Edwards is serving a second term on the Women of the ELCA executive board and lives in Bellevue, Nebraska. She attends Lord of Love Lutheran Church in Omaha. Do you enjoy our blogs? Donate now to help the continue the many ministries of Women of the ELCA.