Several years ago, Bruce Larson wrote in his book Wind and Fire about the interesting life of sandhill cranes. And since I know your week would not be complete without hearing some fascinating information about sandhill cranes, I thought I’d share it with you.
These large birds, which fly great distances across continents, have three remarkable qualities. First, they rotate leadership. No one bird stays out front all the time. Second, they choose leaders who can handle turbulence. And then, all during the time one bird is leading, the rest are honking their affirmation.
Last Sunday, we affirmed new elders for our church, praying for them and “setting them apart” for the ministry of shepherding the flock we call Shelby Crossings. As we look forward to the next three years as they serve our body–alongside the others who continue to serve–the sandhill cranes provide a good model for us to follow as we rally behind our elders who have been led by the Lord to provide spiritual leadership for our congregation.
Like our feathered friends, we need leaders who can handle turbulence. This is especially important as we seek to be a church that truly makes an impact on our community in an increasingly hostile world. More and more these days, our culture is antagonistic against the truths of our faith, and it requires an inner resolve and a backbone of conviction to stand firm amidst the turbulent winds that blow against us. I hope you’ll pray for elders, as well as all of our leadership, that we might stand strong and stand firm.
We can also learn from the sandhill cranes that we need leaders who understand that leadership is to be shared, “team players” who understand what it means to serve one another. Jesus told his disciples that they were not to “lord it over” others like the world does, but to serve them. And then he showed them what that looked like, all the way to the cross. That kind of shared servant leadership is rare in our world today, but it is the secret to greatness in his kingdom, as Jesus taught. And it’s the model that He provided as he came not to be served, but to serve.
But most of all, we need to be a church that knows how to get behind our leaders and honk our encouragement. That’s a key ingredient in helping our flock continue to fly high. I hope you’ll make the effort to intentionally encourage those whom the Lord has provided in leadership at Shelby Crossings. Pray for them–and let them know that you are. And don’t forget to “honk…if you love Jesus!”
What a privilege it is to serve such a wonderful church. I’m praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.