Tuesday, July 19, 2011

lessons on a motorcycle

Oh boy it has been a while again, not sure anyone minds though.  Lots of fun stuff going on this summer.   Also I have a few ideas on things I want to write about so I need to begin writing again...it helps me, for sure.  I think today I will write a motorcycle leadership story.  Even if it is not good it sounds kind of cool.
Last week Barb and joined four other pastor couples for a 2 day motorcycle ride in southern Indiana.  We absolutely love riding with these couples and look forward to it when we make plans to ride. One couple is usually in charge of the rides we go on, making the plans for the routes we take and places to stop and visit.  We stayed in an awesome retreat center south of Indy and that was our home base for three nights.  It was great!  What I am going to write may come off as criticism of my friend the leader but it really is not, it is just how things struck me and how the Spirit had me apply the lessons learned.  I believe pretty much everything we do, even motorcycle rides, can be teaching and learning moments.  
Anyway after our first hot day of riding our host decided to take us to a restaurant that was on a lake.  It was beautiful and well worth the ride.  As we were leaving there it was looking like rain...our plan was to leave there and head downtown Indianapolis and ride around there and then head back to the house.  So we hit a four lane highway for a while...it was getting dark and there was a lot of traffic.  Barb and I were the third bike in line as we rode towards what I thought was downtown.  We then got on a three lane road and were working our way through traffic...the leader wove in and out and we were following.  Finally I kind of gave up trying to speed through the traffic...trouble is the other two couples behind me stayed behind me as we watched the lead bikes kind of disappear over the horizon.  Now right here I have to confess I was angry and frustrated...I kept waiting to see the lead bikes pulled off the side of the road waiting for us...those who were following...nothing. The longer I road the more frustrated I got (my problem I think) not being able to figure out why, if we were going downtown, the leader would not make sure we were all there.  What is a leader without followers?  Finally I pulled off the highway to get gas and the others followed me in...now I am the leader?  As we talked I discovered we were not going downtown after all but back to the house we were staying at...might have been nice to know that...turns out we were the only ones who did not know...nice.  Also turns out we were only about 15 miles from home and through the wonder of modern technology and cell phone GPs we knew how to get there.
As we headed down the road towards our destination we came to our road to turn off the highway on and there sat our leaders...waiting....miles ahead but waiting.  We got back to the ranch and I expressed my displeasure to the leader and he explained his thought process...I did not agree but at least I knew he remembered we were riding with him...kind of!  So we rode the next day and everything was fine...but I thought a bit more about the situation and these are some of my thoughts...the thoughts of a regular guy.  
First I must state the obvious...you are not a leader if no one is following.  A leader leads someone, somewhere...If you go off and leave those following behind figuring they will catch up eventually...not good...at least in my mind.  If they know where you are going sure...but if they think you are going one way and you end up going another...does not work.  If we knew we are heading back to the house it is much different, but I thought we were going to a new place...one we had never been before...and the leader was no where to be found...hmmm.  
So the next lesson was one on communication, making sure everyone was on the same page...included in the discussion.  I felt totally lost and then discounted when I found out I was the only bike who did not know the change.  There were only five bikes total, should have been kind of easy to see that we all knew the destination.  If you are making changes...significant changes...communication is kind of important...too important to not try to make sure everyone knows where we are going.  If I have been to our destination before I might be able to find my way there...if not I am lost!
Then the last thought I had was as a leader...I have to make sure I care about those that are following...that I want them to get to the destination...with me.  I have to confess I could not have felt less cared for or about as I watched the tail lights disappear in the dark.  How could they not slow down?  Surely they will stop...nothing.  A leader, at least a leader in the church, has to care about those following.  Sometimes you have to look in your rear view mirror and make sure they are still there, following.  If they are not you have a choice to make...you can stop and wait...or you can speed on ahead letting them figure it out as they go.  I hope I would stop...even go back if need be...to see how they are doing.  
I was told we were trying to beat the rain back to the house...and we did!  Well truth be told I am pretty sure it has not rained there yet!  Probably could have walked back and beat the rain I guess:)  I think again as leader there are things out there, signs we read that may try to force us to move faster, to get ahead.  Well not at the risk of leaving people behind...again at least in the way I think...not saying I am right. Our leader is an excellent bike rider, way better than I, can go faster, turn quicker...all the  more reason to know who is following.  
He was excited about us being there...passionate to show us around...wanting us to have the best time possible...and we did...really.  Along the way I had a moment to learn a life lesson about leadership...maybe more than leadership it is about my role as a pastor...shepherd...it is just who I am...oh well.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it positively wonderful how God continually transforms seemingly ordinary life experiences into deep lessons?