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Recently, I came home to find that my son, Isaac, was ready to begin riding his bike on two wheels. No one else was around to help, so I found a wrench and removed the training wheels. Isaac thought he was on his way to bike freedom! But it wasn’t as easy as that. He had some basics to master first.

I recall the complexity of learning to ride a bike, even though it is becoming a distant memory. So I looked straight into Isaac’s eyes and told him the important things I remembered: keep pedaling; keep your eyes on where you are going; when you fall, get back up.

As I instructed my son, the Lord revealed to me some of the basics of raising up leaders:

  1. We must help leaders learn when to keep pedaling and when to stop. Riding a bike in a cul-de-sac is not the same as competing in the Tour de France. Likewise, different seasons of life and ministry require different skills and different pacing. It is imperative that leaders learn discernment as they obey the Lord’s leading in their lives.
  2. We must help leaders learn to keep their eyes straight ahead, on the Lord. People’s successes and failures are displayed 24/7 through social media. It is easy to focus on how others are doing instead of relying on the Lord.
  3. Proverbs 4 calls us to obtain wisdom and instruction: “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. … Let your eyes look straight ahead. … Do not turn to the right or the left” (vv. 20-22, 25, 27, NKJV). Our well-being as leaders is dependent upon where our eyes go.
  4. We must help leaders learn that, when they fall, God will graciously help them up. It is usually when I have just experienced the help-me-up grace of God that I can share that truth with others. I know failure—it is what taught me most about the goodness, faithfulness and greatness of my Savior.

Isaac quickly became confident that he could make it on two wheels. But I wanted to leave him a final piece of advice: “Don’t look back even once when I let go. I will be right behind you!”

As we continue to lead people, and as we are personally sent out into new assignments, we can be confident that God will never leave us on our own. Our Heavenly Father is our rear guard, and He is right there with us, cheering us on.

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is an assisting minister at Chapel Valley Community (Madison Foursquare Church) in Madison, Wis.