Gary Haugen leads International Justice Mission (IJM), a worldwide agency rescuing victims of violence, exploitation, slavery and oppression. He spoke at the Global Leadership Summit last summer and his talk helped me the past year.
Gary said Jesus had foresight on his last night with his disciples. For three years, he had been pouring into the lives of these 12 friends who would carry out his mission—and he knows there is one thing that stands between all that they have learned and what it is that they will actually do. Fear. All the finest leadership training in the world can be rendered completely useless by fear. Jesus gave the one command that he offered them more than any other: Do not be afraid. Gary gave four keys to addressing and overcoming fear.
1) Fear is the silent destroyer of dreams. All great leadership flows first from great dreams and our most powerful dreams flow from love. But fear can replace love with a preoccupation with self. Consequently, many dreams are destroyed simply by a leader’s everyday anxieties and insecurities.
2) Why is courage difficult for us? We may not know what actually scares us most deeply. Gary said when he started IJM 20 years ago, he was really not afraid of the violence. When he got quiet in his own soul, he discovered he was afraid of looking like a failure to others. He asked himself: Was I going to let this fear kill the dream? And he said no—and the dream won. But being brave is going to be hard.
3) What must we do for a dream to survive? First, relentlessly inventory your own fears. In silence, worries and insecurities will bubble to the surface. But if you are practiced at it, God brings insight, self-awareness and a steadiness of soul. Second, switch from playing defense to playing offense. No great dream has ever been built on fear of what may go wrong. Great dreams are built on the hope of what might go right.
4) Courage, like fear is contagious. This truth can allow you to lead without fear as you pursue the dream in your heart. What glorious good might God do through your influence?
Read Joshua 1:1-9.
“Have I not commanded you?”The Lord poses a rhetorical question to Joshua in verse 9 that emphasizes the authority of the speaker. Then He adds: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord is with you wherever you go.”
Which command in verse 5-9 would be toughest for you to obey? Which of the Lord’s promises would be most helpful to you? Why? What challenge are you facing right now? What do you fear will hinder you? How will you rely on the Lord and His resources? Like Joshua earlier had Moses to lean on for support, who can rally to help you?
Serve globally. Take up the dream of loving God and others. Bill Hybels has said, “We have the unspeakable privilege of helping change the storyline of people’s lives.” Like Gary Haugen and the IJM staff, lead without fear to the glory of God and the transformation of this world.
Love is a verb,
©2018 by Mike Olejarz