Trophies, Cheerleading, Enoch, and Leading a Healthy Small Group

What do you want to be known for? What would you want people to say about you after you die?

At different stages of my life I would have responded to that question differently. As a kid growing up in Cincinnati, I wanted to be known as a great athlete, like Pete Rose or Oscar Robertson.

My athletic career was unspectacular. I accumulated a caseload of trophies, because I was on some good teams. I did get three individual awards, however. In basketball I got the award for Best Defense … which went to the kid who rarely scored a basket. In baseball one year, I got the Most Spirited Player trophy … which went to the kid who sat on the bench and cheered on the rest of the team.

My favorite award was the Most Improved Player … which went to the kid who didn’t stink quite as bad as the year before. The trophy had the initials “MIP” on the plaque. I overheard my mom telling all her friends I got the “Most Important Player” award. At least my mom appreciated my talent!

In college at the University of Cincinnati I would have said I wanted to be popular. Just for fun my freshmen year, I went out for the cheerleading squad. I figured at least I’d meet some pretty girls. On a fluke, I made the squad, three years straight. I was proud to be a “big man on campus.”

Today, in my better moments, I want to be like Enoch. You don’t hear too many people say that, do you? People say they want to have the faith of Abraham or the power of Moses or the wisdom of Solomon. But Enoch? I love what Genesis 5:22-24 says about him: “Enoch lived another 300 years in close fellowship with God …. He enjoyed a close relationship with God throughout his life. Then suddenly, he disappeared because God took him” (NLT).

No, I don’t want to live another 300 years! And it’s not at all necessary to just disappear without dying, unless it’s the rapture, of course. But I do want to simply live in close fellowship with God throughout what’s left of my life, and then for God to take me when he’s ready.

Enoch had a heart for God, and small group leadership starts with your heart. It starts with your relationship with God—seeking after him.

The previous paragraphs are adapted from my book, I’m a Leader … Now What? I’m currently blogging about the Second Vital Sign of a Healthy Small Group: a healthy, growing small group leader. I believe in this foundational principle so much I write about it often! I’ve written about it in Leading from the Heart and briefly in The Pocket Guide of Burnout-Free Small Group Leadership. I’ll continue to emphasize this until God takes me. 

If you want to lead successfully, Jesus must first lead you!

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