For the last 7 years or so, I have had the opportunity to partner with Chinese Overseas Christian Mission (COCM) to serve with the second generation British-born Chinese. This February, I was invited to speak at PHAT Leadership Training Camp, a retreat for leaders in Milton Keynes, UK. The retreat was about 70 youth from 10+ different churches around the UK (London, Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, etc.) This was my third time with this particular group, so it was good to see a lot of old friends and see how they had grown. This camp was focused on developing leaders, particularly those serving in youth and young adult ministries at their church.
I spoke three times on the topic of leadership, spiritual mentoring and practical ministry skills. (slides: workshop 1, workshop 2.) The other main speaker was Pastor Bert Han, who is also from the US, but moved from LA to the UK over 15 years ago to pastor at a local church, Birmingham Chinese Evangelical Church. He spoke about importance of character for a leader. Bert (who is a diehard Lakers fan) had a great story about Kobe Bryant’s rough start in the NBA. (paraphrased).
Kobe came into the league as a young, talented star who was ready to win. But despite his individual talent, his team floundered. No matter how hard he tried to push and motivate his teammates, they still struggled. Finally, there was a point where his coach said – “Kobe, you want to lead, but no one wants to follow you.” He had not earned their respect as a leader. Leaders must demonstrate character worthy of respect before others will follow them, no matter how talented or successful they might be.