In a recent conversation, someone reminded me that leaders need a regular dose of encouragement. Leaders tirelessly work toward maturity in the lives of others. Leaders lead in such a way that they continually put themselves out front, knowing they will take some personal “hits”. Leaders naturally think toward growth of their organization, their ministry, their staff and their own personal lives. True God-given leadership never stops desiring to effect change and make a better tomorrow. And, when these natural desires are not met, leaders can become discouraged.
Many years ago my wife and I assembled a youth mission team together. It was our first effort to do such a project and we had 14 very excited and rambunctious volunteers. We spent months preparing for our outreach, speaking into their lives and praying with them. The team did great and completed their mission beyond our expectations. Recently my wife and I were thinking about those 14 names and we asked ourselves, “Where are they today?” Below, see the answers to that question to the best of our present knowledge.
#1. Continues with various short-term mission teams; conducted a small engine repair clinic in Uganda; married a nurse with a mission’s heart
#2. Various other mission teams; serves with a human trafficking organization; went to law school
#3. Various other mission teams; serves an orphanage in Mombasa, Kenya now in co-mission with her husband
#4. Completed Bible school, married and became a fulltime missionary to the Middle East
#5. Serving God by serving youth in a mental health facility
#6. Went to Bible school and is now a fulltime missionary to Germany working in human trafficking
#7. A fulltime YWAM missionary for several years and now a DOVE International pastor’s wife
#8. Completed her social work degree and now a missionary in South Africa youth prisons
#9. Leading a church planting effort to Germany
#10. Various mission teams; a medical doctor (surgeon) today working with medical missions
#11. Away from God?
#12. Away from God? Unknown whereabouts.
#13. Went to college; married; a mother of two children
#14. Incarcerated for murder; has returned to God and lives for Him daily in prison soon to be paroled
There you have the outcome of one youth mission team who are now adults. Obviously, a lot more has happened in their lives than just that first team, but when we as leaders do not stop and think about the results of sowing into the lives of others we can become discouraged. Take the time to consider what your heavenly Father has done through you as His obedient leader. You just might encourage yourself.