Take Barnabas, for example. He was relatively unknown in his early years, just a Levite from Crete. But when his passion to encourage and coach others kicked in he became a respected voice in the burgeoning New Testament church. So profound was his impact that today to be called a “Barnabas” is one of the highest compliments you can pay a fellow believer.
So what can you do to make an impact on future leaders? Practicing a few simple Barnabas principles will help to transform your world.
1. Recognize the potential in others. Barnabas believed in people. Coaches do too. When no one would touch the newly converted Paul, Barnabas took him in and patiently coached him to greatness. Why? Because he saw potential in him that others overlooked.
Someone once asked hockey great Wayne Gretzky about his secret to success. “While others skated to where the puck was, I always skated to where I thought it was going,” he replied. Gretzky followed potential.
Envision where people are headed rather than focusing on where they are or where they have been. When we choose to believe in others, they automatically rise to the level of our expectations of them. Do you always see the negative traits in others? Or do you see their potential? Barnabas saw people’s potential.
2. Understand the power of relationships. You can never fulfill God’s plan for you without other people’s help. All great people have great people in their lives. Unfortunately, most of us have forgotten how to nurture real relationships. Perhaps that’s why we’re so attracted to the term connect these days. This buzzword has become the cry of our culture and offers a clue about one of our deepest unmet needs—the thirst for richer, more meaningful relationships.
Most people never learn the art of relationship building. But Barnabas did. He took time to invest in people. He understood the importance of building authentic and transparent relationships and used his skill to sharpen and hone the young apostle Paul.
Coaches are relationship-oriented. They are catalysts that initiate authentic relationships in order to create a culture where walls fall and openness is made easy.
3. Be a “linker.” If Barnabas couldn’t help you personally, he’d connect you with someone who could. Coaches are like that. They are natural linkers who place like-minded people together for a common cause. It’s a passion for them.
It takes good relationships with the right people to get to the next level. A good coach will always be thinking “us” rather than “me.”
So are you actively linking others with the proper people? Many leaders live in anticipation of that divine “connection” that will propel them into more effective ministry. A good coach can help them make that crucial transition.
Would you like to leave a legacy? Would you like the impact of your present ministry to bear fruit far into the future? Then begin to think like a coach. It’s never too late to start. Go ahead, be a Barnabas! You’ll be glad you did. And so will the others whose lives you will change.