My dad has this saying: “Turkeys hang around with turkeys, but eagles hang around other eagles.” He then goes into his full Pastor Dad discourse about how hanging around “turkeys” means you'll never learn to fly in life.
If you think about it, as a leader, we hang around a lot of turkeys. These are people gleaning and drawing from us. People looking to us for guidance, encouragement, wisdom, and spiritual insight. People who may or may not want to be an eagle. People who most likely spend the majority of their time with other turkeys, while we serve as the eagle in their life.
Guaranteed, I spend a lot of time with turkeys. But I also know the value of being with eagles so I not only continue to fly, but also learn to soar.
I love being around eagles. They pursue a greater purpose. They have vision and insight. They know what commitment and sacrifice mean because they live it. I’m encouraged and refreshed in their presence. They understand; they get it; we can relate. My spirit comes alive. I’m challenged and inspired; passion is ignited; a hunger for more is stirred up. I can draw from them. They teach me to soar.
About a month ago my husband and I had lunch with some pastor friends of ours who live 70 miles away. We drove out to see them one Sunday after church and spent the afternoon eating lunch around their kitchen table and drinking coffee while we talked church talk and just simply caught up. Time flew by and as we drove away that evening, my husband and I found ourselves saying, let’s do that again. And let’s do it more often. We spent a solid afternoon chatting with people who understood and left challenged and encouraged as a couple.
Just so you know, it took us months to set up that lunch.
A month before our Sunday afternoon lunch, we met up with some Campus Target missionaries who are leading the charge here in the states. We had dinner, went to a hockey game, and just enjoyed being together. This couple has energy and passion, commitment, and purpose. What I love most about them is they simply have fun serving Jesus together. We casually talked about getting together with them for almost 2 years before it finally happened.
It took the EF Youth Leaders’ Summit for the light bulb to go off. Jimmy and I spent the bulk of our time with a few couples who do Camp Shiloh with us. I love these people. I can’t get enough of them. I love being around them. I wish they were closer so we could spend more time with them.
But would we spend more time with them if they were closer?
The busyness and demands of life can easily get in the way unless we are intentional.
I walked out of the Summit realizing my husband and I need to be more intentional with who we spend our time with. Yes, I’m aware “intentional” is one of those buzz words. But I like the word “intentional.” I believe in being planned, calculated, deliberate, and purposeful. I believe in what it helps me accomplish when I put it into practice. Being intentional keeps me on track. I believe that I ought to be intentional in many aspects of my life.
One of those aspects is intentionally spending time with other couples who are eagles.
Jimmy and I talked on the drive home about being deliberate and purposeful about this. What couples do we connect with that are eagles? What couples do we enjoy spending time with? What couples do we draw encouragement and insight from? What couples challenge us in our walk with the Lord and each other? What couples are close enough for us to manage getting together with on a regular basis?
Thus far, we have 2 couples. The plan is to add another into the mix and rotate on a 4-6 week basis. We’ve already discussed the thought with one of the couples. I must admit talking about this notion with them was actually a little awkward. I felt like a turkey! Thank God we don’t live life based on our feelings, but we can certainly live our lives with deliberate purpose. My husband and I are not content to stay where we’re at. Our growth as a couple and as spiritual leaders is more important than leaving it to chance. Or to turkeys. Or to a 2-year gap of good intentioned “let’s get together” sort of talk. We’ve determined to be intentional about it.
Leaders need to be intentional about their growth and well-being. We need to take care of ourselves in order to be able to take care of others (which includes turkeys!). Sometimes that means getting intentional with exercise, rest, date nights, family time, or even what we listen to or read. It also means being intentional with carving out time to spend with other eagles on a regular basis.
Cinco de Mayo is our next eagle date. Jimmy and I are getting ready to soar.
I hope you too get intentional about your own time with eagles, be it individually or as a couple. You were born to soar. Hanging with some eagles will help get you there.
Laurie serves as the co-pastor of New Testament Christian Church in Rochester, NY and has over a decade of full time youth ministry experience under her belt. She juggles a variety of tasks that extend beyond the local church. Laurie is a director for Camp Shiloh’s summer youth camps; serves on 2 national youth ministry boards; helped start a mentoring program in a local public high school; has taught abstinence courses in several local public schools; coached 3 different sports on the high school level for 10 years; and is called upon regularly to preach at both adult and youth gatherings.
In all she does, Laurie’s life is marked by energy, passion and commitment to the cause of Christ. Her desire is to simply “love people and lead them to Jesus.” Laurie is an EBI grad and ordained minister with EF. She lives in Rochester with her husband James, where they manage to survive despite her lack of cooking skills.