Part of our mission at Leading Saints is to share effective leadership ideas—ideas which are inspired and therefore inspire and motivate us to action. Sometimes we recognize an inspired idea and immediately act upon it. This action is helpful and effective, especially when we have lots on our plate and not much time. A more creative approach is to recognize an idea and ponder on it before we act, opening the door for the Spirit to Lead Out and act upon us with inspiration. The Spirit knows what the members and our families need, so this type of action is even more effective as the Spirit can prompt us to modify, add to, or even create a whole new idea. A truly effective leadership idea is Spirit driven. This is the first in a new series of Lead Out articles and offerings from Leading Saints.
April Sorbonne is from Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves studying the gospel and teaching and has a particular interest in the Principles of Righteousness and their impact on relationships. A recent highlight for her was teaching the Friday Devotional at the University of Utah Institute. She is good at problem solving and finding solutions for others’ hard questions. She has four children, an incredible husband, one hairless cat, and three grandchildren who are the JOY of her life!
One of my favorite quotes is by President Russell M. Nelson from April 2018 General Conference:
Because I know that good inspiration is based upon good information…
It is easy to overlook the importance of doing our part of gathering good information to study it out so we can be guided by God.
We can see how important this principle actually is as we look at the life of Oliver Cowdery. He had a desire to translate and began to do so, but he lacked understanding. He did not realize that he needed to do his part before he asked God for help.
7 Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it to unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me…
10 Now, if you had known this you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now.
Clearly understanding this principle, to study it out first and then ask God, is critical for revelation to flow.
As a leader, I believe my feelings reflect those of so many other leaders I know. The desire of my heart is to be the means of much GOOD unto this generation. This requires lots of divine guidance. Sometimes His inspiration comes quickly after a first petition, but most often it comes after much effort, after I have done my part.
An Acronym for G.O.O.D Can Remind Us of What Our Part Is
Gather information. Pray to be guided to inspired ideas. Be immersed in the
Others should be sought out. Past leaders make for good mentors.
Opinions from discipled members plus your own inspiration should be
considered, pondered and studied.
Decide which idea best fits your situation or answers your leadership question and bring this before the Lord for confirmation.
Learning to Receive
If you don’t receive a confirmation or feel confident about the idea continue the process until you do. If no confirmation comes it may be that you do not have the correct information to bring before Him, go gather some more. It can also mean that He trusts you to study it out and make your own decision. This is all part of the learning. LEAD OUT is a resource to help you as you gather information.
This week’s LEAD OUT question: How Can I Create More Connection with the Women I Lead?
When my husband was called to be a bishop over a large singles ward, it meant that I needed to not only get to know the sisters but to emotionally connect with them. As many of the sisters were from other countries, they were dealing with a new ward, a new culture, and a new place to call home. This intensified the need for me to receive inspiration on how to connect.
Having been a Young Women president in the past, I knew firsthand how important connection is. The girls didn’t care how much we knew, until they knew how much we cared.
This inspired our presidency to have one-on-one ice cream dates with each of our young women. We were there to listen, learn about them and show love. We were there to connect.
Ice cream dates were doable when trying to connect with 30 girls, but trying to connect with 100 single adult women was going to require something different.
I began to pray and look for ideas. I asked other bishopric wives for their input. I pondered, I read. The inspired idea that eventually came was actually not from another leader but I believe it may have come as a result of my heartfelt effort to gather lots of information.
I was to hold a quarterly “Girls Night Out.” These gatherings would be at my house, a place the girls could come to feel closer to us. But how would they connect to us, while there?
More pondering was needed. The impressions that came were that regardless of our age differences, we all share the same need, to feel joy in our lives. Many of the things that block joy for older women are the same for younger women: stress and anxiety, finding our gifts and talents and discovering how to use them, living in the world of social media and not getting caught up in comparisons. If I wanted to connect to them in a real way, I needed to find out what areas in their lives were blocking their joy and help them with these areas.
The inspiration that then came was to create an “Increase Your Joy” survey. From the information we gathered in this survey, we would know what our speaking points should be for our little mini-lessons at our Girls Night Out. This is how we could create more connection with them.
Whichever area was blocking their joy the most, would be the area we would talk about. As leaders, we chose to be transparent and each share a simple example of our own struggles with that topic, then we opened it up for each of the girls to talk. We went around the room and each sister would briefly share either a thought on the topic or how they struggled in that area.
The survey enabled us to be very targeted in discovering the needs of the women in our ward. The Girls Night Out—with collaboration from all—opened the door for deeper connection. Many of the girls refer to us now as their “Salt Lake Moms.”
What we have noticed:
- We now minister more fully because we know what they are dealing with. We have taken several of the sisters to doctors for health or hormonal issues.
- As we all take a turn to share our struggles, it has opened their eyes to see that everyone has problems. They are not alone in their struggles.
- They now know that their leaders are open, won’t judge, and care. They have a safe place to come to for hard issues including pornography.
I hope this connection idea may be helpful to you as you gather information to take before the Lord.
You can download and print the “Increase Your Joy” survey here, as well as the quotes and the painting “Guided by God” that come with this Lead Out article.