Some time ago Bishop Ullestad of the Northeastern Iowa Synod asked four people to give presentations at the synod assembly. Although the other three had very succinct topics, I felt mine was a bit lengthy and vague. I was given this title for my presentation: “Strengthened for Leadership by the Church and Strengthening Others To Become Leaders.” Kind of overwhelming, right? This lengthy title created doubts in me for my abilities to articulate, in a very short time, who had strengthened me for leadership roles in the church and how I could or have strengthened others for leadership roles.
As I thought for many months on this topic, I decided I really didn’t know how others perceived my spiritual gifts within the church. After polling trusted friends, those who I knew would be brutally honest, I discovered my gift came in the form of listening. Being a good listener is a gift given not just for our ears but listening to the Spirit within speaking volumes to us.
Listening is a discipline, something that we become better at through practice. I believe listening to the stories of our lives, the voices in the church and the calls from our global neighbors helps us become better listeners. I believe if you’ll just listen, you’ll be guided by the Holy Spirit and not abandoned in your leadership. Strengthening leaders has nothing to do with me or you but everything to do with the Holy Spirit. Living in the Spirit will give us the fortification we all need to grow in faith and thus strengthen the church and its leaders. What is the Spirit telling us? Are we listening with that still quiet voice inside us directing and inspiring us to act?
Listening is the incredible message and gift of leadership! Are you listening?
Syd Brinkman, who lives in Allison, Iowa, appreciated the opportunity to take on the bishop’s challenge! Syd is serving a second term on the churchwide executive board.