Leadership Conference in Europe
My trip to the United Kingdom was filled with long days of strategy and building bridges as we strived to bring unity among the many offices around the world separated by time zones, cultures, and different approaches. Some office directors felt like they were running out of gas as they carried the heavy burden of orchestrating a fruitful office in the difficult context of living overseas. It was a wonderful time of encouragement and support for one another.
In addition to our Director’s Conference, we went through Leadership Training classes. One of the interesting discussions surrounded the topic of leaders being vulnerable with those in their organization. Studies have found that a lack of vulnerability not only leads to distrust by the employees but also hardens the heart of the leader. So how do we embrace vulnerability while still being tactful? While there is no easy answers, I found this quote by Henri Nouwen to be inspiring:
“Somehow we have come to believe that good leadership requires a safe distance from those we are called to lead… But how can we lay down our life for those with whom we are not even allowed to enter into a deep personal relationship? Laying down your life means making your own faith and doubt, hope and despair, joy and sadness, courage and fear available to others as ways of getting in touch with the Lord of life.”
Learning to lead like Christ led is a lifelong process.
Video of Children’s Home in India
One of my many trips to India with EMI was to Shanti Niketan Children’s Home where we prepared an architectural master plan of their property and a building design for their boys’ dormitory. Most of the boys lived in structures that were built around the year 1916 when the land was used by the Lepers Colony Mission and it was very much time for new building construction.
While there I was struck by the joy and happiness of the children. It would be easy to pity children in their situation. And it’s true, these children don’t have the opportunity to be raised by their biological parents, but they have friends, love from the ministry leaders, mentors in the older children, and finally hope for the future. They are receiving intentional spiritual training, quality schooling, and specific training to get a job after they graduate.
It’s not always easy for me to actually articulate my experience without bringing you with me, so I wanted to show you this beautiful video that the ministry created so that you can be transported to India and to the Children’s Home.
If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing I would recommend watching the beginning as it introduces the situation in India and then jump to the 7 minute mark (ending around the 9 minute mark), so you can hear a story about their newest and smallest arrival to Shanti Niketan.