Jayson Byassee suggests that a primary task of the leader is to tell a compelling story of a preferred future. He closes his post with the following story, beginning with the quote that centers my ministry:
Reinhold Niebuhr said “Nothing worth doing can be accomplished in a single lifetime. Therefore we are saved by hope.”
I remember a story from the falsely titled book “Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Though I learned of the story in college, I’m only now seeing the wisdom of it. It is about the building of Chartres Cathedral in France during the Middle Ages. Though it is hard for us to conceive, the people of Chartres built the magnificent structure knowing that, for most, it would not be completed in their lifetimes. One day a man approached Chartres to see how it was coming. He passed one man covered in dust and asked what he was doing. “I’m cutting stone,” the man said. He passed another covered in sweat and dirt and asked him the same. “I’m laying stone,” he said. Finally he arrived at the cathedral and saw a woman sweeping the floor. He asked what she was doing, though he could see it plainly enough. “I’m building a cathedral for the glory of God,” she said, answering truer than the others.
Leadership is about telling a story of who we are, what we are doing and where we are going. In Christian terms, it’s about describing how what we’re up to is part of God’s coming kingdom, and how we’re invited to join in it building now. So if you want to lead me, tell me a story, and if you want to lead me as a Christian, remind me how this all fits into the glory of God.
So what story is driving your work?