It’s football season. Which – for my wife – means one thing:
It’s marching band season.
That’s right. Merriem is a marching band gal from way back. Football season means she gets to gleefully anticipate the halftime show so she can catch a glimpse of her younger counterparts in action. And what ESPN fails to show her, she gets on YouTube.
Even last night, she was watching archival early 90’s footage from a rival high school. She was explaining to me how they were among the best of the best, because they…I don’t know…marched. While playing. Or something like that. (I’m neither musical nor march-ready. I don’t get it.)
But here’s what I appreciate about the marching band’s musical expertise, flawless choreography, and halftime wow factor: not all leadership is on the field.
Think about it. If the flute section (hey there, Merriem) or the drummers were in charge of the choreography, how perfect do you think they could get it? If the trombones and tubas called the shots on who walks where when, would they be able to tell a square from a circle?
No, it’s only because there’s someone above the fray who’s giving direction. Someone has created the plan. Someone has given the initial instructions.
And someone is maintaining a bird’s eye view to make sure the plan is executed correctly.
To move this into the church world (because let’s face it, not even the largest megachurches have their own marching bands), someone has to stay on top of it all. For the purposes of a rhyming title, somebody’s gotta stay at 30k. While it’s admirable (and necessary) for a leader to be willing to jump in and get their hands dirty, it’s better for a leader to take both time and perspective to get the entire picture.
I get it: we don’t always have time to do that. There are still fires to put out, still spots to fill, still things that need to happen. But if we’re always firefighting and spot-filling and task-checking, we leave little room to climb the steps to the top of the stadium and get a comprehensive look at our systems and strategies.
So how do you get started? First, by replacing yourself as much as possible. As a leader, there are times you need to do, and there are times you need to delegate. By raising up other leaders, you’re able to be freed up to see the things you need to see.
This weekend, who’s gonna stay at 30k?
Now that I’ve got you in the marching band spirit, take ten and watch Ohio State’s latest unbelievable