I don’t know when it happened, but apparently, I am an adult… Not even one of the young ones either. A year or so ago I realized that when we talked about the “young marrieds” in the church, my wife and I were no longer mentioned. This led me to a few other discoveries that led me to the conclusion that I am aged. I wear socks with cargo shorts and old running shoes… I watch dog walkers go by my house to see if their dog drops a deuce in my lawn and holler at them when they do… I have conversations about gas mileage, insurance and the jackwagon city boys that plowed the snow back onto my driveway. I swear I was just in high school with that letter-jacket swagger. Now I have a dad bod.
Because we are all notionally adults, and we are training our youth to wear the same label someday, it is helpful to think about one of the hallmarks of adulthood: The ability to make decisions and adapt to the outcome.
Decision making is the confluence of three leadership traits that define mature leaders: Judgement, Initiative and Decisiveness. These are three traits that I had pounded into my head at Marine Corps Officer Candidate School as a part of the USMC Leadership Traits. This is the excerpt of these traits in the Leading Marines Warfighting Publication:
Initiative is taking action even though you haven’t been given orders. It means meeting new and unexpected situations with prompt action. It includes using resourcefulness to get something done without the normal material or methods being available to you.
Judgment is your ability to think about things clearly, calmly, and in an orderly fashion so that you can make good decisions.
Decisiveness means that you are able to make good decisions without delay. Get all the facts and weight them against each other. By acting calmly and quickly, you should arrive at a sound decision. You announce your decisions in a clear, firm, professional manner.
For us in a ministry context, we have these traits that we can train to, but we also have the gift of the Holy Spirit as our guide and partner in making decisions; the low-grade every day ones and the life altering huge ones. John records Jesus saying this in his Gospel:
15 “If you love me, obey my commandments.16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. John 14:15-17 (NLT)
The word in verse 16 that translated as “advocate” is the Greek word Parakletos, which you might know is roughly transliterated as “one called alongside; a counselor, comforter, advocate and encourager.” The take away for our purpose is that we are not alone; we have the Advocate that will cover us as we find ourselves in the place of decision.
So how do we make the most of the gift of the Advocate? Ruth Haley Barton unpacks that question in episode 7 of her Podcast Strengthening the Soul of your Leadership. One point that she makes that seriously challenged me was the idea of indifference. I am one biased s.o.b. in most things, so this was the point of reflection for me. I would be interested to know what your point of reflection was!
I hope you are as blessed by her guidance as I am. If you haven’t already found RHB, I would encourage you to check out her book, the same title as the podcast. This is a book we need our leaders to read! Finally, I send you this podcast because it was sent to me. Trevor Estes, who leads the Boise Vineyard and the Idaho Area for the Big Sky Region, sent it to me following a talk we had at our regional conference this summer. Be a leader that shares; pass on the wisdom to the people Jesus puts on your heart.
So listen up! Be blessed and encouraged! I would love to hear what your takeaway was, and I would love to know how I can pray for you. Drop me a note and let’s figure out this adult deal together!