How I Lead SpringHill by Submitting to God’s Wisdom

When I was younger (and a bit naïve), I believed I could fulfill my personal mission of serving others, especially young people, through ownership in successful businesses thereby donating tons of money and free time to changing the world. But as any good entrepreneur knows, start-ups require every ounce of your time, energy, talent, and financial resources. At the end of the day, I simply had nothing left to give.

At the time, my good friend, Mark Olson was President of SpringHill. Both of us were married, both of us had four kids, and our families spent a lot of time together. Mark and his father had created not just a place but an experience at SpringHill, an experience that was both innovative and extremely popular. The ministry had finally grown to the point where it was decided to open a second camp in southern Indiana. Mark wanted freedom to travel to Indiana and spearhead the effort, but the SpringHill board was reluctant to have him do this if he didn’t provide a replacement for himself at our camp in Michigan. That’s when he asked me to take over as the Michigan SpringHill Director. Needless to say, I was both humbled and thrilled. Business with a purpose, the two things I loved.

Then tragedy struck.

Mark became ill and would pass several months later due to an aggressive form of leukemia.  Not only had I lost a dear friend, but SpringHill had lost its leader, its heart. Our team worked to make sure the magic and impact of SpringHill would live on, but we would need to understand what the future looked like without Mark.  Little did I know; the board had devised a succession plan long before Mark was ever sick. And I was in the middle of that succession plan.

Zero to sixty: I had gone from being the Michigan Camp Director to being the President of SpringHill in three short, fast years. It was then that I realized the opportunity before me to truly be a leader who leads as a servant. To pick up the reigns and serve a greater purpose despite my insecurity of not being Mark Olson, or even an Olson.

I knew I had a love of learning, teaching, coaching, and nurturing the spirits of others to help them become better leaders and followers of Christ, eager to share His word – but, was I ready for this?

How often do we feel like Moses, being asked to accomplish something that seems entirely too big for us to achieve?  How many of us respond to those calls as Moses did, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11, New International Version).

I too asked God, “Why do you have me in this job? I’m no Mark Olson.” But something occurred to me not long after that must have been the reassurance Moses received when he had verbalized his concern: “And God said, “I will be with you…” (Exodus 3:12, New International Version).

God has a plan for each and every one of us, above and beyond what we could possibly anticipate.  Each of us has a calling to become an influential servant leader if we chose to let go of our fear and insecurity.  God uniquely equips us to accomplish the tasks that He’s called us to, we need only have the faith to press on.

As leaders, we must always remember we’re never quite ready for the assignments that come our way (whether we know this or not), but in humility, we must submit to God’s wisdom, seek the input from trusted advisors, and lead from a posture of listener and learner.