Remember the Foundation of Leadership
by Naomi Cramer Overton
While listening to a group of leaders just like you, I heard one woman say, “I started leading at MOPS because I wanted to grow as a mom and reach out to other moms. MOPS was a natural way to do that.” MOPS grows women as leaders, mothers, friends and as daughters of God. In the process, women invite other moms into this lifelong growth process.
But how can we encourage growth in others when we’re still growing ourselves?
Sometimes we focus on sequential development – once I’ve grown as a woman and mom, then I’ll be ready to help others grow. But growth is a both-and process.
A recent study published by Willow Creek Association shows that our growth process changes as we mature spiritually. We all feel a pull toward Christian community, especially when we are new to the faith or ready to grow deeper. But here’s what is counterintuitive: If we focus only on growing ourselves in an exclusively Christian small group, we stagnate, rather than grow. Think of water flowing into the ocean. If the water stops there, it becomes murky and useless. To be water pure enough to grow things, it needs to keep on flowing.
To keep growing ourselves, we need to keep encouraging others to grow. This is exactly what happens in MOPS leadership. We don’t wait until we’re done growing to lead. We keep growing in God’s love as we lead, as we serve moms in our communities.
The secret to growing us while encouraging others to grow:
Sometimes I wonder how I can lead when I can nod my head in agreement with the bumper sticker that says, “Please be patient. God isn’t finished with me yet.” I feel inadequate. But then I remember the foundation of my leadership: I am God’s beloved daughter. You are God’s beloved daughter too. Celebrating that truth and trusting that he is enough when we are not empowers us to help others grow.
How will you let yourself grow in God’s love today?
I hope the same thing for you that I so need: Do-able ways of daily experiencing God’s love.
How can you experience God’s love for today and each “today”? A candle by your computer that you light, reminding you to pray before you start work? A chair in a corner of the family room with a journal and a view of something beautiful? A Post-It® on your dashboard with a favorite verse? Encourage other women’s growth by sharing how you experience God’s love. Perhaps they will adopt your custom. A mom told me her growth secret: “Small bits, done faithfully.” May we treat ourselves to “small bits” of time with God that nurture our growth, as we continue inviting other moms to grow alongside us.