What is courage and how do we cultivate it?
What is courage?
We want to explore what courage is, and how we can encourage others in their leadership journey.
Courage comes in all different shapes and sizes, and looks like different things for different people.
The bible is full of words and phrases which focus on courage.
” Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. “Deuteronomy 31:6
Nic Harding tells a story of his friend, and her ability to show great courage in the face of adversity, (You can read it below) Her story highlights when we respond with courage, it can have a kingdom impact.
” Every day we can choose to make courageous decisions. to step into our callings in our gifts, into the place that God sends us to have influence for the kingdom of God.”
How can we encourage people when we see leadership potential?
Sometimes you may have seen the potential in someone, only to encourage them in this, and get a response that they don’t want to take that opportunity up, sound familiar?
So how do we help those people where we see leadership potential in them and then not really that keen to take it up?
We can start to help people step into leadership, by giving them really small first steps of initiative and responsibility. Sometimes it’s making suggestions in our missional communities, maybe encourage them in their workplace. Just by looking for ways in which we could encourage them. And of course the word encourage means step into courage to actually fulfill some of the things that they’d be good at.
What about people who don’t think they have any skills which they can bring into leadership?
We believe that every single person has the potential to be part of and contribute to God’s kingdom. We are all agents of His!
In our experience when people don’t see their own skills it’s down to lack of self confidence.
They don’t really believe God’s made them to be of significance. So I think we start by helping people understand who they are in the light of how God’s made them!
Once they see aspects of their own personality, character, even abilities that reflect God’s nature, they can begin to move into their giftings.
These might be a caring heart, creativity, seeing those in need, once they begin to see that these are reflections of the nature and character of God, from that comes an understanding of identity as children of God. This in turn will give confidence to people enabling them to take those little first steps of courage.
How can we help people do that?
We can encourage people to take those first little steps of initiative and responsibility in the light of their giftings. And the other one I love to use with people is the Gallup questionnaire called strength finder. (link)
Strength finder is a really simple tool to help people see their top five strengths. Once people can see what they can do, it can give them courage to take steps in contributing to their missional communities, or church community. And also, gives those of us in leadership around them the reference point to know which areas to move them into.
How do we include people who were not in the room?
It’s very easy, as a leader, to fall into the trap of mostly giving opportunity, or connecting with, people like us! It’s easier to spend time with, and train people who are similar to us in terms of demographic, skill set and gifting.
But we need to include all people, to cast our nets a bit wider and include those voices who aren’t normally heard.
We want to encourage you to actively consider who isn’t represented. It takes time and effort to include a wider range of people in our leadership teams, but it’s vital that we do.
How do we model good leadership?
We need to model a well balanced life to those we are training. People replicate both the strengths and weaknesses of those who they are learning from. It’s important we take rest, we maintain our own health and wellbeing as we model leadership to those around us.
We also need to be encouragers.
The word encouragement obviously has the word courage right in the middle of it!
Encouragement is a simple thing we can do. Barnabas encouraged Paul, he was ‘ the son of encouragement’ if you’re not a natural encourager, (and we aren’t all like that!) then make sure you take time to look for the good.
Tell someone they did an awesome job, be specific in your words. ‘You did an awesome job there. I watched the way you handle that person. You did it so well.’
How can you build courage in those around you this week?
If you have a story of someone you know who has displayed immense courage, drop us a line – [email protected]