On January 14-15, 2011, Heart for Lebanon organized a 24 hour leadership seminar held in Harissa, to discuss the book “Habitudes: Images that form leadership habits and attitudes” by Dr. Tim Elmore. Youth groups and organizations from all over Lebanon, Syria and Jordan totaling an audience of 150, participated in this seminar. The key speaker was Morgan Hill, who has served as an associate trainer with Equip, an international non-profit organization which develops Christian leaders on every continent.

(Front, L to R): Anayis Messrian (Armenian Evangelical Nor-Marash Church), Hagop Akbasharian (NEST student)
(Back, L to R): Luder Aritinian (Armenian Evangelical First Church), Badveli Datev Basmajian (Youth Minister of the Armenian Evangelical Churches), Shant Aynilian (Armenian Evangelical Ashrafieh Church), Samuel Kelougian (Armenian Evangelical Ashrafieh Church), Taline Chakerian-Messerlian (Armenian Evangelical Nor-Marash Church), Shushan Artinian (Armenian Evangelical First Church), Morgan Hill, Rosy Sailian (Armenian Evangelical First Church), Silva Chilingirian (Armenian Evangelical Nor-Marash Church).

Morgan, who is also the Chairman of the Board for Heart for Lebanon, began his interactive lecture by introducing the term “ICE” that stands for Image, Conversation and Experience. He stated that images can form leadership habits and attitudes. Today’s generation has grown up in an image rich culture with photographs, movies, television, DVD’s, facebook and therefore, cannot avoid the power of visual image. When I say elephant for example, what pops into your mind: the letters e-l-e-p-h-a-n-t or an image of an elephant?

Thereafter, Morgan began introducing and explaining twelve images (I will mention only five) that represent leadership; in between each image presented, the young leaders were divided into groups of six or seven individuals to brainstorm and discuss each image, that created a conversation between the participants who eventually came up with solutions in order to improve their leadership skills and character.

The first rule of leadership is represented by an image of an iceberg. The 10% of the iceberg above the water represents the skills of a leader, while the rest that is below the water represents his character. Here he brought up Titanic, the great unsinkable ship that sunk due to an iceberg. ”It is what is below the surface (the 90%) that sinks the ship.” The 90% includes character qualities that are not always visible to others, such as self-discipline (ability to do right even if you don’t feel like it), core values (principles you live by), sense of identity (who you are in Christ) and emotional security. Luke 6:43-45 God puts “being” before “doing”.

The second image was that of the “starving baker” who works from 8 am till 8pm and never gets the chance to taste his bread. The starving baker represents leaders that are so busy feeding, nurturing and guiding young people that they themselves don’t have the time to taste the “bread of life” John 6:35. Many leaders fail to tend to themselves up to a point where they can no longer go on serving others. To be able to feed others, you have to feed yourself first.

Another image was “Thermostat and Thermometer”. Are you a thermostat, who acts based on principles and values that you embrace or do you react to situations like a thermometer, reflecting the temperature in the room? Leaders who are thermostats are authentic people who live by principles. Dr. Billy Graham, an American Evangelical Christian reverend, is well respected, not merely for his insightful sermons, but because he lives by his values and is a principle-centered individual.

Next came, the image of a “Half-Hearted Kamikaze” and a personal favorite. Just as Kamikaze pilots, leaders are only useful if they are fully committed to their mission. A half-hearted Kamikaze pilot was interviewed after his 50th mission was completed. Astonished that the kamikaze pilot was still alive after 50 missions, the interviewer asked the pilot: “how is it possible that you are still alive?” the pilot answered, “well, I was very involved. Not committed, but involved.” Matthew 16:24. What is the difference between involvement and commitment? In order to fully comprehend the difference “You should ask a pig and a chicken after eating bacon and eggs for breakfast,” says Dr. Tim Elmore.

Finally, leaders should be like drivers and not passengers (another image). When people are in a difficult situation, they tend to blame others for their problems and don’t assume responsibility. They act as a passenger, not a driver. True leaders realize that they are the drivers and are responsible for their attitudes and destination in life.

The seminar was enriched with an innovative worship session called Liquid Worship. A youth group leader from Youth for Christ (YFC) explained that ‘Liquid’ here, meant movement. Participants were to quietly move in between a maze of worship stations or corners and to meditate in silence. The prayer corner was where people gathered and quietly prayed for Lebanon and its youth. The craft station had tables, chairs and craft materials that allowed the participants to come up with creative yet spiritual crafts. The young leaders also visited the wall covered with colorful hand written prayers, stared at it read the prayers and admired them. Also among the stations were the hall of worship songs, the corner of offerings to God and the station of Thanksgiving. It was quite a refreshing way to worship God; you were surrounded by many serene worshippers, yet you were in solitude, giving thanks and praising God in your own quiet way.

I want to thank God for the opportunities he gives us, to know Him, love Him and serve Him better and would like to finish this article with a famous quote by John C. Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

Reference: T. Elmore, “Habitudes: Images that form leadership habits and attitudes”, 2009.

Shushan Artinian,
Armenian Evangelical First Church