A number of years ago I made what felt like a huge transition in my ministry career. I stepped out of my role working with the college ministry at our church to begin working with our Spiritual Formation team. I had many questions about what the new season of ministry would look like for me. Near the top of my list was the question, “will anyone want to follow me?”
I stepped into a role where I was youngest person in every circle and every meeting. I began coaching small group leaders and had to embrace the reality that some of my leaders had been volunteer small group leaders longer than I had been in ministry.
In that season I revisited a teaching from Pastor Dan Reiland that has been extremely influential in my spiritual leadership journey. The topic is one of many covered in Dan’s book Amplified Leadership. The first time I heard Dan talk about this he got up and wrote 4 words on a whiteboard:
Heart –> Connect –> Trust –> Follow
Those 4 words paint the picture of how leadership is earned and built in relational environments. Here is how this works:
- Heart – People have to be able to see your heart in order to know you
- Connect – When people see your heart they are able to connect with you
- Trust – Trust is built on a foundation of connection
- Follow – You will only follow someone if you really trust them
As a young pastor, learning this was a huge step for my leadership. Young leaders need a plan or process if they hope to build influence. (click to tweet) Because I wanted the volunteers under my care to follow me, I had to figure out building trust with them. Trust was only going to be possible when I found ways to connect with them and allowed them to connect with me. In order to connect the volunteers would need to see my heart.
Heart –> Connect –> Trust –> Follow…Those 4 words have come to mean so much to me in my leadership journey. They remind me of the importance of allowing my heart to be known by those around me. Perhaps most practically it gives me something of a litmus test for diagnosing breakdowns in my leadership.