Friday, January 19, 2007

I have had the opportunity to see the leadership styles of many people in my life. Some were extremely effective, some barely. Some inspired others to work hard, some intimidated others to labor. To be honest, few stand out in my mind as true leaders.

Many have thought they were. Somehow, in our society a wrong message is conveyed to the youth of our culture. These students want to be esteemed among their peers. Popularity is the vehicle for many to begin leading. Popularity, like fame is a fleeting falsehood. There is little rhyme or reason to who becomes so, and it is often based on superficial vagrancy.

I feel like I have been watching such people rise and fall from ringside seats.

The recipe is often the same. For varying reasons, one is recognized for an accomplishment and placed in a position of authority. Unfortunately, too little training has been invested, and they rely upon skills that are underdeveloped. Their momentum is based on "positive press" and they forge ahead without the proper weaponry to face their well-armed foe.

One of the common mistakes, is believing in their "15 minutes" instead of recognizing and building upon the elemental giftedness that has been briefly awakened, and drawn from.

There is no strength in the platform of popularity. It is weak and not well supported. What excites your followers one day will make them weary the next. There must be training, and there must be passion. Otherwise, the foundation will crumble like the house built upon the sand.

In the student culture, I have often encountered students who believed they were ready for leadership and declared themselves as such. Then what normally follows, is a circle of onlookers watch as the self-proclaimed leader, fails.

True leaders understand that you must first be a good follower. If you cannot follow, you will not know what the foundation of leadership is built upon. As a follower invests in pursuing the goals set by the leader, he begins to discover the process of realizing the achievement of dreams.

Confidence is built, experience is stored and a foundational structure begins.

In my experience, the students who make the best leaders are the ones who have followed hard, and invested much into the belief that the one they were following knew what they were doing.

More times than not, that leader was elevated from the ranks of the hard-working. They did not one day say, "I am now going to be a leader," press themselves into that role, and find success.

The best leaders ply their passion into hard work, and lead by example, not by word of mouth.

One of my roles is to recognize leadership quality, pursue and invest in those students, and help them develop. It is a responsibility I often feel ill-equipped to fulfill. I never mind when one comes to me and says, "I really want to be in leadership." That is a place to begin.

I do object to those who say, "I won't work with you if you don't make me one of your leaders." Those people are usually believing in prideful platitudes. They are often arrogant and refuse to realize it. Yes, they have desire, but too often, they forge ahead willing to bring the whole team down based on their own allusions of ability, when their foundation is void of necessary components.

We have at our disposal, the example of the best leader who walked the earth. He was a servant. His desire was to be obedient to the will of His Father. He did not seek self promotion. He resisted it entirely, until the time was right. Even when He became the ultimate leader, He remained a servant. He did this by example. He did this by the way He lived His life.

We need to stop idolizing the wrong people. We need to invest in serving. Don't believe in your own press. Believe in the One who believes in you.

dad

8 Comments:

At 10:04 AM, Blogger brobrad said...

brent,

I am so glad that you are able to work with some very gifted young people who do have their hearts and heads in the right place. There are so many awesome young people out there but we so rarely hear about them.

This morning I heard of another disheartening study indicating that by far, the highest aspirations of U.S. youth are fame and fortune, and is it any wonder; our culture certainly doesn't glorify servanthood in any form - and we live where they are rarely taught that respect, leadership, or even fame and fortune are earned. Rather, they are won in a contest, in a lottery or "earned" simply because they were born and "suffer" in our North American excesses (not that there isn't poverty and suffering here too) and since someone else made the decisions leading up to their birth, nothing is there fault and they deserve to be provided for simply because they exist.

Professional atheletes earn literally millions of dollars to sit on the sidelines during the game in case they are needed for 5-10 minutes during the grueling 2 hours of competition. Many of them are adolescents in big bodies because our culture caters to and worships them and their "accomplishments" that of only temporal values (at least those performed on the field of play).

Since most of our public schools teach as fact that we are simply here as the result of chance there can be no absolutes, no firm foundations to base beliefs unless they come to truly know Christ and study and serve Him. Even we adult Christians (and certainly I include myself in this) are sitting on the sidelines watching it happen because we feel to inexperienced, weak or frustrated to make a difference - yet we must try.

Thank you for sharing with and training our young people and for your ongoing ministry to educate them that they aren't alone or overly limited...if they are serving Jesus Christ they can "do all things!"

 
At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just caught up on, and been blessed by, the past few days' entries. Thank you for continuing to write!

Though I'm not as faithful at checking in as I used to be (actually, for some strange reason I seem to be drawing away a bit from e-mail and internet), when I felt the need to get in touch with a praying community, your blog came quickly to mind. There are two families who need concerted prayer today:

1. Marcia Woodard, who has posted here in the past, lost her father in a car accident two weeks ago. Her mother was critically injured in the same accident, was making a miraculous recovery, but has now developed pneumonia. If you care to keep track of her, Marcia has established a Care Page, RuthReport, at www.carepages.com. (Marcia herself is also grappling with early onset Parkinson's.)

2. Josh Buck, a young pastor, husband and father from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was in a serious diving accident in Cancun yesterday, and has been airlifted to Miami for treatment. Details and updates are available at www.greenhouseministries.org. This precious young family lost a baby girl in a tragic accident a little over a year ago.

Please, if you are so inclined, do keep these brothers and sisters in your prayers.

With love, gratitude and prayers,
Anne Bainbridge
Marion, Indiana

 
At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Linda Anderson said...

Amen and amen! So true! What an amazing experience it must be to watch these kids grow and learn, and possibly become leaders someday. You are equipped, Brent, you listen to the Lord, and He will guide you with the right decisions for His will!!! God bless you!

Agape~

Linda Anderson

 
At 12:27 AM, Anonymous Brittany Di Salvo said...

Amen and amen indeed. These recent posts have been very encouraging. Love and thanks to you, Higginses!

 
At 1:18 AM, Anonymous cousin becky said...

I just wanted to add a few more specifics to Anne's prayer requests listed above. For the blog family, Marcia Woodard and Josh Buck's parents are a part of the church that Brent attended while growing up in Marion, Indiana.

Please continue to pray for God's comfort to surround Marcia and her family in the loss of her father and lift her mother up in prayer for God's healing power.

I have learned a bit more about the details of Josh Buck's accident but will start with some background information. On August 1, 2005, shortly before BJ went into the hospital, Josh and his wife Shelly tragically lost their 3-month-old baby girl. Now, due to a diving accident, Josh himself is facing critical physical difficulties.

For those of you who might not take the time to visit the website listed above for updates, I am posting some more details here so that you will know how to pray more specifically.

In a diving accident while vacationing in Mexico, Josh suffered a major crack to the vertebrae in his neck. He was able to be airlifted to Miami, where he has undergone surgery to remove his very damaged 5th vertebrae that was causing pressure to the spinal cord. The vertebrae was to be replaced with a metal component and fused to his 4th and 6th vertebrae.

Josh has been intubated since the accident and unable to breathe on his own. Initially, he had no movement from the neck down but has since gained function in his arms but not his hand. There has been no movement in his legs.

After the surgery, there seemed to be some encouragement that he may gain function of his hands. The doctors are giving a 7-10 day watch time frame to see what other development in function he may gain. He will be ventilated for up to 10 days before they expect him to breathe on his own although it could be less time. As he's ventilated, he will be sedated and not really conscious. The doctors are giving his legs a 5% chance of recovery, but nothing is impossible with God!

He and his wife have two young children--Noah and Zoe--with another on the way. Pray not only for Josh, but also for his wife Shelly who is under the extreme pressure of the situation.

Their church in Grand Rapids, MI is planning to fast during the day and some through the night on Saturday. As God directs, please join them in praying fervently for this family that seems to be in the crucible right now.

They have informed Josh of all the support, prayers, concerns, offers and arrangements that are being made all over the country and now the world. He knows that people are praying for him every hour on the hour. He knows that the church will be fasting on Saturday. Please join others in supporting this family with prayer. It is already blessing him.

Believing in God's power and grace,
Becky

 
At 10:40 AM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

"Everything rises and falls on leadership" (to quote a friend). I know that God is using and will use you to be a weak-but-strong role model for these young leaders. I know that the ones whose paths have crossed mine humble me with their devotion to Christ and their heart for service, regardless of the cost. I know that your son was such a one. No, he wasn't often an "official" leader--but his Awe Star teammates all recognized him as a leader and (more importantly) as a man of God. Lord, give us (as Deanna reminded us the other day) YOUR testimony--regardless of our titles.

Praying much for these hurting families. God, sometimes Satan's work of lying, stealing, and destroying seems way too prominent in our fallen world. Show Yourself strong, our King! Surround these families with Your powerful presence. Be for them as a consuming fire and also as a Healer of wounded hearts and broken bodies. Bless those who lift them up as well.

in Jesus' mighty name, AMEN

prayed and praying in pink
with tender love

Marti

 
At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a new believer, I am continually looking for leadership and guidance to understand and grasp His Word. It amazes me the individuals who are able and willing to take the time -- usually the least expected and the most humble and, in my case, the farthest in geography from where I live. We all are called to follow. We are all called to know Him. And in knowing Him, lead others to His Truth. May God continue to provide his message through leaders who are willing to take the time and energy to build His kingdom.

Two such leaders that I have come to know a little more are your incredible daugthers. Whitney was serving this weekend and leading young middle school age children to the One. She is beautiful inside and out. She listens well. Sometimes all young people need is someone to listen and take time to care about what they are saying. Whitney is receptive and even invested in these kids. Thank you Whitney. SING TO THE KING!

 
At 1:09 AM, Anonymous Mary Leestma said...

being a good leader is being a good servant. such a hard thing to do sometimes...
thank you for the reminder!! praying for you guys always!!
love!!
mary

 

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