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As I was reflecting on the leadership here at Journey this week, I thought about other conferences that I have attended… where there is a clear difference between the leaders and the participants. The leaders are the experts with degrees and publications who theoretically have everything all together and the participants hope to someday attain the same kind of expert leadership status. But that is not how the leadership at Journey works. I don’t know exactly what the qualifications are to be a leader at Journey, but what I have perceived is that it’s like this: 1) you need to have a story of brokenness, 2) you need you understand your brokenness, 2) you need to be on a path of healing, 3) you need to learn how to help others in their healing process. The leaders here are on their own journeys and they model what it means to be in the process with everyone else, living out their stories, sharing their own pain, and exposing their vulnerability along the way. They model for the participants that our healing journey is never complete. This model has given me the encouragement to know that I don’t have to have everything all together before I can help other people… I can share my brokenness and continue understanding myself in the midst of my leadership.

The speakers stand on a stage that is elevated so people can see them, but they are not elevated in their posture or their position. They are among us and with us, themselves, on their own journeys. It’s not like we are people who hope to someday arrive at a destination where we have it all together at which point we could lead others. Because there is no arriving, there is only continuing on the path that God has for us.

And I saw modeled what it means for men and women to lead together, without one having authority over the other based on gender. I have seen strong, women leaders who are older and speaking and leading alongside men… And seeing this model has been an encouragement to me in my own leadership. Women who are in the later years of their lives still serving and leading with authority and conviction with men here too… some men leading and some men supporting the women leaders. Thank you for giving us that example of biblical leadership that honors the gifts of both men and women, which is glorifying to God.