Learning to Lead with Love

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Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

It was during my sophomore year of college soccer that I realized what leadership was. I had always idolized my captains in the past for being “pretty” or “really good at soccer”... but I was missing the mark quite a bit. 

It wasn’t their skill level, or the way that they rolled their pre-wrap that I should emulate. Rather, it’s the way that good leaders give everything to their team and the way they lead with their faith, that I truly want to model.

During my freshman year at Trinity Christian College I had made a friend named Lilly. Once we became roommates and I spent almost every day and night with her, I noticed that she was always completing selfless tasks. After every practice and game, she would grab the ball bags and the penny bag, and because we did everything together, so did I. At first my heart wasn’t in it. I was annoyed because we would be the last ones to leave and no one else ever helped or even thanked us. I was not getting any recognition for taking precious time out of my day to do this, so why would I keep doing it?

After a couple weeks it started to become a routine, and still no one thanked us. Two weeks turned into a month, then the whole season, and soon it was our junior season. Junior year Lilly didn’t return to play soccer. I found myself still volunteering to take the penny bag or stay after to help pick up the cones. I found that it was a way I could step up and lead my team by being a little bit selfless. Not for recognition but my heart was transforming. I was doing it to help my coaches have one less thing to do, or to help my teammate who forgot to take it in.

If you told me that I would be captain of the soccer team at Trinity Christian College my senior year, I probably would have laughed at you. There was no way that I was in a place to lead a whole team of moody girls, with myself being one of them. Freshman year "me" would have said that I won't ever be cool enough or talented enough to be a captain. But I would have been wrong.

"Leading isn’t about saving goals or scoring them, it’s about being able to make decisions that will benefit the team, doing tasks that nobody will thank you for, and it’s about leading the team by what you say and do." - Sierra Christopher

I was not aware, but I had a change of heart by my senior year and I was wiling to do anything for my team. That’s why taking the ball bag, or staying after to talk to coach about the line-up was no big deal to me. My coaches luckily saw the change in me too, and gave me the chance to be captain my senior year. I spent a lot of my senior year making tough decisions with my fellow captains and doing a lot of behind the scenes activities, just because I believed in my team. With God, I was able to lead with love. The love for God translated into love for my team, and that love contributed to doing tasks that I would have dreaded before. My heart wasn’t in the right place my freshman year to be captain, and that’s okay.

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I did not become captain because I took in the ball bag, but that was a sign to my coaches that I was willing to give up my studying time (or give up my chance to see the cute boy in the cafeteria), just to take the ball bag into the locker room so my team didn’t have to! Not only did they notice this, but so did my team. This all started by one simple example of love, Lilly. She was not a captain, nor did she have the duty to lead, but she did. And that’s what good leaders do. Leadership qualities were always inside of me, but loving my team brought them out of me. When I started leading with love, I stopped dreading picking up cones after practice or taking the recruit for coffee when I knew it was going to be slightly awkward.

I suddenly wanted people to remember me as a leader like Jesus was, and I wanted them to do selfless tasks for their team. I didn’t want people to copy the way that I put my tape over my shin guards, but I wanted them to emulate my faith by setting an example. That’s where good leadership starts.

 

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Sierra Christopher

My name is Sierra and I was a goalkeeper for the Trinity Christian College women’s’ soccer team for 4 years. I am passionate about learning more about the world that God made for us. I also love to run, now that I don’t have a coach who makes me do it.