David was one of my best missionary friends during my years in Argentina. I didn’t get to see him often because he worked in another province. I consider David my mentor in anything having to do with the great outdoors. He taught me all about climbing and hiking.
We climbed Mount Chirripó, in Costa Rica, twice and Mount Chanyi in Jujuy, Argentina, once. While the climb required no harnesses, ropes, or crampons, we had to make sure we were equipped.
Our first adventure was in Costa Rica. I was a novice, so David had to instruct me. He encouraged me to get good boots because they are the climber’s most important piece of equipment. He also told me about down-filled sleeping bags good for 30 below zero and isobutane fuel canisters for cooking.
Then there was the food. The main concern when packing for a long hike, especially if the hike is up hill, is weight. “Pack light,” David said. Dried fruit was allowed. So, David taught me how to build a fruit dryer out of a metal screen, wood, and an electric heat plate.
David also helped me prepare for the climb by convincing me to run with him every morning. He set the pace. It seemed like I was always trying to keep up with him.
He gave me tips about how to put a thin synthetic sock inside a thicker wool or cotton sock to avoid blisters as we ran and climbed.
But David did not just help me gather the right equipment or prepare my body for the physical exertion. He also equipped my spirit. He was always saying, “You can do it.”
I will never forget the climb up Chirripó. As the path wound its way upward through the rainforest, we could see no further than ten or twenty feet ahead. I was getting exhausted and wanted to sit down and moan. David, however, kept saying those magical words: “The peak is just around the corner.”
David was an equipping leader. He didn’t just say what I had to do, he showed me how to do it and helped me gain the skills, resources, and attitudes to be successful.
Great leadership has always been about equipping others for success. It’s about
- providing good information,
- laying out a plan,
- helping your followers acquire the skills needed for success, and
- nourishing the spirit.
Leading others in this way is like enjoying something so much you want others to experience it. David could climb and hike on his own, but he wanted to share the experience so he equipped me to go with him.
Greg Waddell provides consulting services for churches and organizations. Contact Dr. Waddell today at gregwaddell[at]leadstrategic.com to discuss the needs of your organization.