The seasoned fishermen had been fishing all night, and yet their nets were frustratingly empty. The Lord urged them to take the boat to deeper waters, and in faith and obedience, they took Him at His word instead of trusting their own experience. They went deeper. The yield was so great that the nets could not hold it all, and the fisherman’s lives were forever changed. They realized that this was a divine encounter.
Instead of harvesting fish, they followed Jesus and were empowered from then on to harvest souls. (Luke 5: 4-8) If you feel God is calling you to go out deeper in your faith, ministry, or personal development, the Holy Yoga Ignite Leadership Training will indeed motivate you to ‘go in deep.’
Holy Yoga’s Ignite Leadership Training challenged me to think about leadership as influence, which I envisioned as circular ripples generated from one singular impact. Whether you see yourself as a natural leader or not, you have influence with the people that God has put in your life. Who are these people that will be affected in the ripples of your influence? Partners, children, family, friends, colleagues, church family, your yoga students, neighborhood, community. Who else? The realization of how much influence we have can be both sobering and exhilarating.
In the leadership training, we discovered together that the power of the servant leader lies in cultivating one’s heart: “to lead with a limp” (Allender). Great leaders are authentic, courageous, and they practice grace and gratitude. God may take time to develop our character and maturity before He calls us into leadership. With a servant’s heart, we will desire to empower those we have an influence on to accomplish God’s purposes and plans. Rather than being threatened by the gifts of those they lead, strong leaders give away power and challenge others to bring their gifts into the world.
It is critical to acknowledge that leadership has both costs and temptations. This part of the work requires courage; lifting off layers and exposing our motives as we face the same temptations that Jesus did in the wilderness, and he prepared to embark in his ministry. Admitting that in our humanity, we face the temptations of relevance, popularity, or power is necessary to our development.
“I have a special concern for your church leaders. I know what it’s like to be a leader, in on Christ’s suffering s as well as the coming glory. Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way” ( 1 Peter 5:1-3, MSG)
A vital part of the leadership training is the weekly small group. The small group provided a safe place and support to dive even deeper, as we explored, processed, and prayed for each other throughout each new topic. Together, we pressed in, becoming vulnerable and honest, and wrestling with some difficult emotions and personal revelations. No one seemed to want to miss a thing that God had in store for us. God’s gentleness and Holy Spirit were evident; however, as we exposed and offered our hearts to Him.
The ultimate servant leader is Jesus, and so, we examined how he led. We saw his example of empowering others, prioritizing a strong relationship with the Father through the spiritual disciplines of solitude and prayer, and leading with a love that he knew from the Father and which the world thirsts for. We recognized that if Jesus made time to withdraw from the crowd and spend time in the presence of the Father, that we must also do so, in order to keep our hearts guarded and prevent burnout.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)
With hearts softened, hands open, and eyes on Jesus, we examined our giftings, both natural and spiritual, and how God has equipped us for various ministries through these gifts. Taking time to study spiritual gifts was really valuable to me. Because friends have come to me for counsel and advice, I thought I had the gift of discernment, but realized instead I was counseling them through the stronger spiritual gifts of Knowledge and Exhortation. I had to admit that at times, I have resisted the gift of Administration that He has given me, and examine the reasons why.
After gaining a better understanding of my aptitudes and spiritual gifts, our next assignment was to craft a personal mission statement. Doing so gave me a sense of confidence and purpose, and unexpectedly, freedom. While taking the course, I received a few invitations to serve, which challenged me to pursue and exercise discernment and remember my boundaries. In one instance, I accepted a role that did not seem a great fit and had to reassess. Because of what I was learning in the leadership course, I was able to sift through whether this was God’s calling by praying, examine motives and fears, reflect on my aptitudes, and seek affirmation from those who know me well. Having boundaries does not mean we are not committed to being used by God but by saying no to what is good, I have learned I can save room for His best.
The Holy Yoga Ignite Leadership Training is a fantastic way to discover the unique ways that God has designed you and your life story so that you can lead others well. Whether you are ready to grow past your current limits, perceptions or fears, change course to another area of work or ministry, or simply to be a better steward of the areas that God has already given you influence, one thing is for sure; God wants to develop you! Accept Jesus’ invitation and go in deep!