I feel the need to state that leadership posts on this blog don’t come from ‘teacher-to-student’ perspective; rather from the eyes of an enthusiastic explorer logging his findings. As far as the ‘New World’ of leadership is concerned, I think I’ve made it as far as Boston. It’s going to be a long journey.
Today I spent my break before our Revolution rehearsal with one of the band’s drummers – Dan. We braved the cold (walking decidedly faster than usual), wondered into the town centre and grabbed a MacDonald’s before heading back. It was simple and although I hadn’t anticipated it to be, it was by far the most important part of my day.
You see, rehearsals are a rushed, frantic experience. We spend time together as a team, usually between 35 and 50 of us, before splitting into our separate rehearsal spaces. I have to confess, it’s all usually a bit of a haze from the moment people start arriving to the ‘split point’ – questions fly at me from all angles coupled with catch ups, jokes, parental interactions, nervous new-people introductions, ‘I’m-sorry-I-can’t-make-it’ texts…all the while with thoughts about what I’m going to say during the team time. All I can say is that I don’t envy Senior Pastors and preachers sometimes! After the band has split up, rehearsals take place at a particularly frenetic pace. For example, today I spent a little while with the band I co-lead with our fantastic worship leader, Hannah, in K2. Once we’d sorted everything for our Kids worship on Sunday, I left them to it, running over to the Studio to make sure the second band were happy with what they were doing as they prepared for LIFE next week. After clarifying a few parts and pleased that they were sounding great, it was straight to the Kerith Centre where our third band were getting ready for Sunday evening’s adult meeting. A particularly funny moment having made Alice, a brilliant keyboard player of ours jump out of her skin, a few words with the tech team and a pedal board check before rushing back to K2 for the rest of the rehearsal with the first band. By the end of the rehearsal, I don’t know what’s hit me.
With all that stuff going on during rehearsals, it’s really quite difficult to spend anywhere near enough time getting to know the young people that I get to work with. So many faces, so many stories. I want to do everything in my power to get the most out of them musically; but first and foremost, I want them to grow spiritually. I want to know what makes each person tick so I can give everything I have to support them. I just can’t do that during rehearsals anymore. With the growth of the team, it’s getting much harder to see people as individuals – or conversely, perhaps it’s getting far too easy to see people as numbers. I don’t want that. Which is where my time with Dan comes in.
It was such a privilege to be able to hear him rather than the sounds he makes on a drum kit (aside from the sarcastic comments and the grunting). To hear Dan’s opinions and thoughts, to have conversations about faith and friends, about challenges and about the future. It was so exciting to hear Dan’s thoughts on plans we have for the coming months and really, it was just brilliant to hear what drives him; what inspires him; what fills him with excitement. I’ve had hundreds of conversations with this guy before but today, I felt our friendship grew deeper.
Having that sort of understanding with Dan is joy for a number of reasons. Firstly, because I enjoy talking to him. Secondly, because if I get on well with him, it’s easier to have the tougher conversations with him in those difficult times. When people know you are unequivocally for them, tough talks are not so difficult to hear. Thirdly, because if I know what drives him, I can make sure that I help him push himself and really work in a way where we can get the best out of him. It takes deliberate actions. Deliberate love. I’m realising the value in being a purposely people person.
I’m not naturally a people person. In my teenage years, I would have sat firmly in the ‘get good or get lost’ camp, but I’m realising the value of getting to know, love and value the people you are around. I had to be a purposely people person in the early days of Revolution, simply because I didn’t know how to be. Now, I need to be a purposely people person just to find the time to invest into these guys. If you are a regular follower of my blog, you’ll know that I am brimming with pride when it comes to Revolution. I couldn’t adore them any more. Dan is just one of so many people that I feel like I know really well...
…but there are still those I don’t. Today I was reminded of the importance each individual you lead. Today, I learnt that even people people that aren’t naturally people people can actually be people people after all (Yes, I just used the word people six times in one sentence!). It just has to be purposeful. I need to be a purposely people person. Do you?