Traveling around the country over the past 2 weeks I’ve learned a few things. For starters the best tex/mex food is in El Paso, Texas and depending on where you are the best bar-b-cue could be in North Carolina, Kansas City or Texas. Also, just because your trailer lights work in Louisville doesn’t mean that they’ll still be working when you get to Dallas. Not all of California is warm. New Mexico and Arizona can be just as cold as the Midwest. Finally, leaving is hard and coming back home is always the best thing ever. Period.
Our “West Coast Tour” was the first tour that I ever planned/booked/managed. It required hours and hours of pre-tour work including but not limited booking, venue/event details, financial organization/planning/budgeting, travel accommodations, song selection, contracts, tour rehearsal, individual job assignments, people management, time management and everything in between.
All of this while trying to keep the main thing the main thing, helping people see Jesus at our concerts and worship gatherings by singing song filled with truth and pointing people to The Gospel. We had food, really nice accommodations amazing hosts at every stop and everyone received a stipend. We also raised enough money to record a brand new single this spring down in Nashville at Dark Horse Studios. All of this as an independent band without the support of management, a booking agency or a record label. God was good to us. Really good. We had the privilege of driving across the country and serving local churches and organizations with The Gospel presented through music.
Leadership is never easy. Especially when your in charge of caring for the spiritual well being of the people that you’re going to serve as well as the well being of those on your team. It can be a very heavy responsibility.
It’s also extremely important to admit when you’re wrong, communicate your strengths and delegate in those areas that you’re weak and through God’s grace strive to serve people better in the future and even be willing to change course in the moment if need be. As a leader (steward), I want people to be able to serve with joy and if I’m not displaying servant leadership it can make the jobs of those serving with/under me more burdensome. While it’s their job to serve regardless, it’s my responsibility to make sure that my heart, motives and actions are right, so as to make it a joy for them to serve, not a burden.
Leadership also requires fortitude and steadfastness especially when it seems like “everyone hates me”. They usually don’t, they probably just don’t like you in the moment or don’t like something you did:) While on the tour I had failed to communicate a key aspect of the plan to several of the band members and as a result, they responded accordingly with what information they had. Which happened to be only a small glimpse of the entire picture. Not their fault, why? I failed to communicate some key details to several of my detail oriented band mates. Humble servant leadership requires putting the needs of others above your own and being willing to own up to your failures as a leader and change course if need be.
Leadership also requires making tough decisions and being the bad guy. Some of the most humble and servant hearted leaders that I have ever served with have also been some of the most wise and decisive leaders I have ever known. They know when and how to give grace mercy in the form of second chances and they know when to let people go when attitude, performance and ability become a hindrance to the ministry as well as the individual. Letting someone go can be difficult but it can also be the most necessary thing to do for the ministry and for the individual as well.
Leadership also requires knowing who to let in on the evaluation process of your work/art/leadership. Bringing in people who are knowledgeable and more gifted than you is key to developing what it is that you do. They also need to be people that you trust and who have your best interests at heart. Shutting out people who disagree with you and surrounding yourself with “yes men/yes women” will keep you at the point of mediocrity and will only serve your ego, not better you as an artist or leader.
Humble, servant-hearted, selfless leadership is what serves people well and glorifies Christ, our selfish and prideful ego does not.