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A Commander can’t be easily offended, but he must be quick to love!
A commander can’t be easily offended.
It’s easy for all of us men to take pride and ownership of our outpost and the plans we make for weekly meetings, but in a ministry, where relationships are central, we have to hold onto those plans loosely. We can never predict when a ranger, a parent, or another commander may unwittingly tip over our “precious” apple cart. It’s in those moments that we have to remember our motto, “Be, Ready for Anything.” To be ready for anything, we have to create margin or space. That space gives us time to react.
On a recent Wednesday night, Senior Commander Wayne asked to meet with the Expedition Ranger (ER) commanders to discuss some changes. I had a little bit of a heads up, and I knew these commanders were going to react – and react they did. At OP169 we have a very special group of ER’s. On any Wednesday night we can have 20-25 ER’s. These are high school boys that have everywhere else to be, but make a decision each Wednesday to be a part of the Outpost.
This is a group that is “boy lead – adult facilitated”. The group of commanders that facilitate ER’s is a strong group of seasoned servant leaders that have built tremendous relationships with these boys. So as you can imagine, they are very protective. Some of our Outpost lead commanders had resigned their positions, and as a result, Commander Wayne was prayerfully contemplating combining AR’s and ER’s. You could immediately feel the tension in the room and see the reactions begging to swell on their faces. One commander that is very fit and muscular looked as if he would tear off the corner of the desk he was sitting on. I was impressed that out of respect for Commander Wayne most of these men allowed for margin, or what Andy Stanley call, breathing room.
Victory Frankl, a famous holocausts survivor and psychiatrist puts it this way, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
3 ways to create margin.
Lean on God’s word. The Bible is full of wisdom about thinking before speaking (Psalm 34:13
Be ready and open to feedback. In fact, invite it! In most leadership positions, it is essential for you to hear all of the things that can and do go wrong. It’s nice to hear the positive, but to have an opportunity to resolve a problem just puts you and your Outpost on a more stable footing.
Begin to see the situation through the eyes of your heart. Remember you have the power to choose your response, and the eyes of your heart will give clarity to the ways God is growing you.
A commander must be quick to love.
1 Corinthians 13:1 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am the sound of a rusty gate”. Rangers is a discipleship ministry that only works when relationship are built inside of our adventure rich lives. Rules without relationship breads rebellion. Rules with relationship breads respect. Being a conduit of God’s love will bridge every relational gape.
Behind every set of eyes is a story. The real story, and getting to that story requires love. We have had so many stories where God has healed and restored a young man’s heart out of an abundance of love shown to him by Godly commanders, parents and other rangers.
Love in any relationship is cumulative. It takes small investments over a long period, but the returns are tenfold. Within your role as a commander, expressions of love will come out of experiences with your outpost. Whether your teaching basic lashing or a Bible merit, whether you’re camping at Pow Wow or canoeing down the river, these opportunities to express the love of Christ and forge lasting relationships will allow you to build God’s strength into the lives of the young men in your Outpost.
A ministry tool that has help draw out Outpost closer is The Word for You Today. It is required reading for all of our commanders.