You, your children, and your extended family have been walking for miles. The adrenaline that has carried you this far is starting to wain, and you feel your limbs beginning to ache. You thought you were following a man with a plan, but now all that stretches before you is a vast sea. Though you can’t see them just yet, Egyptian soldiers are approaching too quickly for your liking. You thought you were free, but now you’re trapped.
You’ve kept a brave face for your wife and children, but the facade is starting to crack. You take a quick mental inventory of any items you and your family carry that could be used for self-defense, though you doubt you’re any match for their trained infantry.
Suddenly, you give pause. Though salty waters stretch before you, Moses is moving forward, seemingly into the water without stopping. Then, the waters begin to part; it’s as if the sand is oil repelling the sea.
God reveals the path.
“Forward!” Moses yells to you and the masses. “Forward!”
I wasn’t there when God parted the Red Sea, but the story in Exodus speaks to me; Moses’s leadership via dependency speaks to me. True, a leap of faith may be mildly easier to take when you’ve already encountered God as a burning bush in the desert, but I appreciate Moses’s lack of questioning or double-checking.
In Exodus, Moses doesn’t circle back to regroup with God on whether or not walking through a body of water is a safe choice. He doesn’t suggest that God reconsider the route.
The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. (Exodus 14:15 ESV)
So, what do you do as a leader?
God has given you the vision. You have a mission. How do you move forward?
I want to encourage you to stray from the mistakes too many leaders make.
Don’t go out there and check on the sea and think, ‘Oh, I’ve got to figure out how we’re going to get across here first, and then I’m going to go back and get everybody.’
Planning for all of the “what if’s” is futile and exhausting. Waiting on board decisions, city approvals, the excellent staff, the completed presentation, etc., is not ultimately what will bring in more funding and interest in your mission.
Eventually, this cautious approach may yield some results, but more times than not, I’ve seen it lead to frustration and failure.
God has already commanded you to move forward.
Bring team members and donors with you, grow the influence, bring them along with you by offering guidance and inclusion: “Here’s our plan, here’s what we’re working on, here’s our progress. What questions do you have?”.
That’s what leadership in this context looks like for bringing people with you.
Be upfront about where your organization is and where it is going. Openly share how and why giving is needed and thank them generously when they participate. Answer questions along the way the best you can, and be the first to admit when you don’t have the answer…but offer to find it.
Remember, the currency that you’re after is not money. The currency you’re after is influence.
Have you gotten clear about your vision and mission? If not, start here with our Strategy Statement tool.