Cause – a principle, idea, goal or movement to which a person or group is dedicated. A leader cultivates her own growth and broadens her influence when she is committed to a cause outside of her own ministry or area of expertise. By doing so, she demonstrates a willingness to contribute to the common good of her community and the world. Whether it’s marching, writing a check, or stuffing envelopes, participating in such a project is beneficial in every way. Here are some questions to ask yourself and tips to get started if you are looking for a cause or are not sure how to best manage one:
What is your passion or personal interest? Do you have a story?
For example, thousands of women are active in the pro-life movement today because they have a story involving an unexpected pregnancy – whether it was theirs, a family member’s or a friend’s. They instinctively recognize the panic and fear a woman feels when she discovers an unwanted pregnancy. By leveraging their own experience, thousands of women have found ways to serve tirelessly within this movement. What cause stirs your heart? There is an inscription in a used book I bought, “Many things will catch your eye, but only follow those that catch your heart.” I have remembered this advice from an unknown sage for many years.
How can you most effectively be involved in your cause?
Volunteering provides multiple opportunities. But before making any commitment, of course one must consider her season of life, her time constraints, family or work responsibilities, etc. Sometimes attending an event or sharing through social media will connect you to the cause, even if your commitment can only be minimal. But minimal is better than nothing!
I am a firm believer in that we need to be linked with a local movement or project that is different from our own, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be faith based. My friend, Donna Gaines, pastor’s wife at Bellevue Baptist in Memphis has been instrumental in promoting a city wide third grade literacy program called Arise2Read. Stats say that if a child can read proficiently by third grade, her chances of graduation drastically increase. Through Donna’s leadership and influence, over three hundred of their church members have been mobilized to tutor these at risk kids. What a statement this makes to their city!
It is also wise to extend our interests outside our own city or community. There are multiple global ministries that are worthy of our support, whatever that may look like. By simply sharing on social media, we demonstrate our interest in and agreement with that cause. Like many of you, we sponsor children through an international ministry. I will probably never meet those children, but I keep their pictures on my desk, pray for them and always notice when their country is in the news.
Bring others with you!
One of the advantages a leader has is that others notice her commitments. Your connection may spotlight a cause that others would never have even known existed. Your stories spark others’ interests and often lead to their involvement as well. Use that to your advantage! A leader influences from a place of intentionality. Be committed to your cause, use your significant influence to promote it, and watch it grow!
How have you found a cause you enjoy? How have you drawn others into it?
Published February 15, 2016