Lead Like You’re On a Cooking Show

I love watching cooking shows. The modern version are those cooking POV videos on Facebook. But it’s nothing like when you hear the sound of the sizzling garlic, or crackling of freshly baked bread, or the chef narrating his every action.

The past several weeks, I’ve found myself narrating a lot. Whether it’s telling stories, explaining decisions, or describing actions that are happening within our campus ministry. Sometimes it’s student leaders, sometimes young staff, sometimes staff who are taking on national or international roles. I narrate what I’m seeing and doing so that others can learn from them.

The best education is on the job, so we use every moment, filled with real life case studies, with real life consequences, to train. The result is I probably sound like a TV chef, explaining leadership shifts and changes like Jamie Oliver describing sweating the onions.


We have to do this because we want to raise their leadership level. If we’re really serious about having new leaders, then we can’t just order people around like mindless servants. We need to engage their thinking and trust their judgment. The simplest way to do this is by telling stories and letting them see things from your perspective.

To do this effectively, we need to know and believe certain things:

1. That we need our team to lead with us.
Talking to people and explaining decisions to them takes time and energy. It means having to stop and think about things instead of just acting instinctively. It also means they can question you and counter the points you’ve made.

There’s no point doing this if you think you can do it all on your own. But if you’re convinced that the Mission is too important, that our vision is too great, that the task will require more people – then we should start training immediately.

2. That our team is intelligent and discerning.
We won’t train if we don’t think our team is good. To train them means we believe that they can excel and actually reach our level of excellence. We don’t think that we are the sole possessors of wisdom.

3. That our team will surpass us.
Why train people if they will only reach your level of performance? Don’t waste your time. Just do it yourself.

BUT if you believe your people will surpass you then you want to lay a strong foundation for them to build on. I’m blessed to work with men and women who surpass me in so many areas – preaching, financial management, counseling, building relationships, and discipling students. It’s a privilege to use my experiences to help them become who they’re called to be.

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