Last week five Anchorage area clergy (Jon Disburg, Jim Doepken, Ron Myers, Tom Holslag, and myself) pedaled 25 miles on a gorgeous sunny day. I wanted to emphasize fitness and enjoy a day outside with colleagues. It didn't take long for me to compare this event to our journey with Christ. For most of the ride I was at the rear which was what I preferred. I was not interested in averaging 12 miles per hour which was our pace after the first 30 minutes.
As I meandered the twists of the coastal trail and entered into a time of prayer I discovered that I could not ride quickly. What is it about the spiritual life that it blends well with all things slow? I knew the group would eventually stop and wait for me. At one point I wondered if they would wait when I was stopped on the trail by a mother moose and her calf. There was nothing to do but wait with other travelers until they would let us pass.
After a much needed lunch break we headed back to Anchor Park. Once again I was at the back of the pack and out of sight from the group. Maybe they were trying to ditch me! Here is the leadership lesson I gleaned. If you are leading others it is a good idea to stop or slow down and look back to see if your followers are still following you! I did not know the way back to Anchor Park and was left to my own devices to figure it out. I wasn't worried or bothered but it would have been nice to have someone who knew the path to tell me which way to go.
In our churches do our leaders ever think to stop and look back? Maybe the role of a straggler is a reminder from God to the group to slow down the pace. Maybe someone needs to be paired with those riding at a slower pace. Maybe the leaders are moving too fast. Who said, "We don't get there until we all get there?"