All leaders don’t necessarily grow up comprehending they can be great influencers. A lot of times, it’s left as an undiscovered treasure to the future leader. Everyone else can see the potential hovering beneath the surface through their actions and attitudes. Stay close to a group of parents watching their children play and you might hear some of them make comments like, “That little Tommy is gonna be a great leader one day.” It’s easy for them; they don’t have all the dirt on you like you do. It’s always harder to see yourself through the lens of someone else’s perspective. You know how really undisciplined you are. You know how truly prideful you are. You know how impatient you get when others don’t understand things as quickly as you. Projections get in the way of a leader coming into that identity and seeing themselves as a leader.
Here’s something to think about; each one of us is a leader. Yup! There’s not a single person on earth who is not a leader in some way. Leaders aren’t just businessmen in suits zipping around bustling city streets with briefcases in hand… what are in all those briefcases anyway? Is it just a manly version of a purse? I bet they have hand-lotion in there. Leaders aren’t just on the other spectrum either; burly men in lumber jack plaid button shirts with an axe over the shoulder and pressing into the wilderness to start a new colony for humanity. While those people are probably leaders, there are also leaders disguised as librarians, accountants, truck drivers, etc. Everyone is, and can be, a leader. Unlocking that potential means unlocking all sorts of possibilities.
Matt Huyser is waking to the fact that he is a leader. “Before coming out here I wouldn’t have considered myself a leader in a lot of areas. I knew this was going to stretch me and I’ve been praying to God even before coming out here and asking him to develop me and make me a leader.” Again, it’s crazy he didn’t see the potential. He’s tall and has the physique of a star athlete and stands with a broad chest and confident arms. His smile is always authentic and evokes trust with those around him. The experience that you have with him makes you walk away feeling you just made a great new friend. It’s undeniable that God can use this guy to change lives. And that’s exactly what he’s doing now. Matt is serving in Ibarra, Ecuador as a 40/40 Church Planter for two years. He talks about how it was pretty crazy how God called him to go to the field as a missionary and there are moments when he really can’t believe that he’s working in Ecuador. Before, he had never really imagined himself going onto the mission field. In fact, he says chuckling that at one point he thought that, “missionaries were all strange and weird people who couldn’t relate to others.”
So, apparently, he really didn’t think he’d serve in missions. But, something changed. Back in 2012, he went on a short mission trip to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010. “After going to Haiti it opened my eyes and planted a seed in me. It made me want to be in a position where I could pour into other people and share the word with them. It was after that I knew in my heart that I was going to be going somewhere for a longer period,” shares Matt.
Each one of us has a certain language that we lead from. Some people might lead more from a place of getting tasks done, other’s might lead from a place of influencing others, Matt leads from relationships. He talks a lot about pouring into the people he is working with and investing heavily in those relationships. “I love mentorship and I’m learning how to be a good mentor to other people, someone that people can lean on and trust and be open with and be vulnerable and obviously that comes with a price with some people. Some people won’t understand and some people might be turned off by some of that stuff. Just in general, you gotta be open with others if you want them to be open with you. I’m learning how to mentor and break through with people.”
Learning how to mentor others starts with learning for yourself. You simply cannot lead others farther than where you have come yourself. So, it makes sense that to invest in others you have to invest in yourself first. One of the most important pieces of the daily life of a 40/40 is intentional alone time with God. This goes for anyone, really, but these 40/40s on the front lines of spiritual warfare are seeing manifestations of Satan’s attacks occurring right in front of them. They have to get in the word and cling close to God daily. Matt has been taking his alone time with God seriously. He says that; “if we have a humble heart, He’s always going to be teaching us.” “The things I’m learning in my alone time with God are things that I want to take on to teach my contacts. This position has shown me some things that I’ve been surprised about myself. Growing all the time shows you where you might have some superficialities in your love… it shows you a lot.” And this is no easy place to be either. This kind of growth hurts. “God’s got me on the operating table out here. He’s teaching me as much as he’s teaching any of the people we’re working with.” Even though it’s a painful process, we know that there is purpose behind it all. Being in mission work, Matt concludes; “He’s showing me so much and I want to share that with others.”
Possibly the largest piece that God is speaking into Matt is to step up in his leadership style. When asked what his leadership style looked like he joking said he like to lead from “you know, Instagram, Twitter, the comfort of my home.” But, then the authentic smile came out and he said, “I wanna be one to lead from service. Get more comfortable out here with people and have more passion. I’m starting to get more outspoken with people and situations.” This is the risk of leading. There are some who settle for the easy path of leadership who stay on superficial topics, but leading with a voice and actually addressing issues head on, that takes some courage. “I know it’s coming time to start leading with a voice and not just examples. I don’t want to be passive but voice the truth.”
How are you leading in your community and surroundings? Have you, like Matt, not thought of yourself as a leader? Why do you think that is, or is not? What can you start doing to develop yourself into a stronger leader?
If you want to support Matt in prayer, these are ways you can lift him up, “Pray for wisdom. Like, with mentoring and reaching out to these guys. I know a lot of these people don’t have answers to their needs and I don’t have all the answers for what people are going through,[there are] things I don’t know about. More of that in my quiet time and more of that in my work with people.”