Leaders Look Beneath the Surface

silhouette photo of mountain and water during dawn
Photo by Levi Bare on Unsplash

“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
but one who has insight draws them out.”
(Proverbs 20:5)

I’ve made it a priority to make “cold calls” to our students. This isn’t my favorite thing because I’m an over-achiever when it comes to being awkward on the phone.

In the age of text messages and group threads, phone calls seemed to have gained a greater impact. A few months into the COVID pandemic, I remember a poll from USA Today that affirmed the power of a personal phone call–from a religious leader.

The other day, I called a student and began with my normal mini-speech:

“Hi, it’s Matt McGill from Mariners Church. I’m calling through our list to check in and let you know that I’m praying for you. I know that with COVID, some people are having a hard time. Is there anything specific I can pray for?”

And then there was silence. I was waiting for the hang up (it happens!). Instead I heard a deep intake of air followed by a gigantic sigh of release.

The response, “Matt, I can’t believe you are calling right now. I just finished school. I’m sitting in my car and I can’t take it any more so I’m crying my eyes out. I never cry, but I’ve just had enough so I decided to let it all out. And now is the time that you call.”

I’m sure you can imagine my response. I was silenced (which is rare!). I was floored. Humbled. Honored. It was an amazing thing to be used by God to encourage someone who really needed it.

As leaders, we change lives one conversation at a time. 

Most of them don’t look like this one! But it’s our responsibility to get ourselves into position so that we can look beneath the carefully fabricated facade that most students project. 

The surface may be still, but there are deeper waters to explore.

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