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Ordinary Volunteer Finds Her Leadership Gift

Leadership coach Karen Miller tells the following story about how she and her husband needed to identify and develop new leaders for a new church plant:

One Sunday morning Irene, a church plant leader in her seventies, set up the Communion table. I noticed that she then went around to make sure everything else was in order—and people did whatever she asked them to do. Afterward I asked her, "Irene, have you ever considered that you have leadership gifts?"
"Absolutely not!" she said. "I am just an ordinary woman, housewife, and mother. I'm not leading; I'm just serving."
Some months later, our young church received a visit from a Rwandan church leader. He told the church how he dreamed of starting an orphanage and school for children whose parents had been slaughtered in the genocide. We decided we had to help. Could we hold a banquet to raise funds? Irene agreed to help put on the banquet.
When she visited a possible caterer, she somehow convinced the caterer to donate most of the food. Irene talked with a banquet hall, and they gave her a deep discount. So did the tech people. No one could tell Irene no. On the banquet night, over 200 people came, and enough money was raised to build the school and its first dormitory.
I teased her afterward: "Irene, that was amazing! Maybe you are a leader?" She laughed, for she finally had to acknowledge the truth. Each May, Irene led the banquet again. Now we could see photos of kids who had lived on the streets and never brushed their teeth flashing broad, white smiles. Boys who had been malnourished, their arms and legs painfully thin, now ran and jumped across the courtyard on strong legs. Girls who'd come dressed in rags showed off their neat school uniforms and barrettes.
After Irene went to be with the Lord, Sonrise Orphanage named a dorm after her did I find out that the banquet she'd led had singlehandedly covered one third of the school's operating costs.

Possible Preaching Angles: Leaders; Leadership; Leadership development—Why does leader training matter so much—especially when we're busy with a thousand other things? Because for any change to happen, there needs to be a leader. And for any God-honoring change to happen, there needs to be a God-honoring leader like Irene.

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