Do you remember how difficult it is driving on those foggy nights? You are tempted to turn on your high beams hoping it will help you see better, but you know it will only make the visibility worse. Those high beams make the fog more opaque making it even more difficult to see the road ahead. In non-inclimate weather, traveling at night is eased for modern-day travel using automotive headlights for seeing up to an estimated 200 feet ahead or those high beams shine up to 400 feet ahead. Ships are also guided by lights to warn them of rocky or shallow waters or to guide them safely into the harbor. Lighthouses that contain those powerful lights to guide those ships can be seen up to 30 miles away.
As church leaders, we are also guided by the light. For us Christians the light is often used as a symbol for spiritual insight, creativity, holiness, goodness, knowledge, wisdom, grace, hope, joy, and God’s revelation. The Bible teaches us to walk in the light, to let our light shine, and not hide our light.
In my experience as a coach for church leaders, I find that many church leaders are only accessing limited light sources. It seems as though they are driving on those foggy nights with their high beams on desperately trying to find greater visibility to no avail. Yet they persist with those high beams glaring back into their eyes hoping the fog will eventually dissipate.
Every church leader needs time at the lighthouse! The lighthouse provides altitude, greater visibility, different views, and distance. When a church leader spends all their time on the ground tending to the day-to-day operations of the church, it is like driving the car in the fog with those high beams on. Clear visibility is just not there! You can only see a few feet in front of you at a time – maybe just getting to the end of the week or even to the end of the day. Driving/leading in these conditions limits church leaders’ creativity, insights, visibility, energy, joy, and so much more.
Time at the lighthouse is most productive with a guide – aka a coach. The coach can help the church leader see things you might otherwise miss, inquire about something that causes a new insight or awareness, be a neutral observer and listener, and call things to your attention as an outsider that an insider can’t see. Guided trips to the lighthouse are recommended at least monthly.
These guided lighthouse trips should not be considered a luxury. Nor should they be something a church leader partakes in only when things are really tough, there’s a crisis, or a special project coming up. Guided lighthouse trips (coaching) are an essential leadership tool for today’s church leader – nevermind the fact that about 40% of pastors are seriously considering leaving the ministry.
Those of you who are responsible for the line item in your church budget that would cover this vital ministry tool for your pastors, make sure it includes coaching and the other continuing education needed for your pastor. In addition, how are your other staff, ministry team leaders, and board members being resourced with these essential trips to the lighthouse? For more information on coaching or to start your guided lighthouse visits, click here.