The conversations usually start about the same, “How long have you been here in Arizona?” When I tell them that I moved in the middle of July, my answer raises the eyebrows of the locals. This causes me to spend a bit of time explaining why someone would move to the desert during a time when the temperature is approximately the same as hell. I agree with them that it was not the optimal time to move in. However, when the opportunity arises to learn from some of the best in your area of study, you do what needs to be done.
The realization that it was hot happened in the first week here; it was an entirely different hot than I was used to from my Missouri home. Meteorological tools were not required to prove that fact to me. Instead of a thermometer, all my energy was spent looking for thermostats! I didn't need to know how hot it was; everybody knew it was hot. I was much more interested in finding out how the environment could be changed to make it more comfortable for me and those around me. In leadership, we seek the same thing. People do not look for someone to tell them how bad things are; they want to follow someone who will change the temperature of the room around them.
In Paul's letter to the Romans, he tells the church, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” When I read that sentence in light of biblical leadership, I cannot help but think of the difference between a leader who is a thermometer and one who is a thermostat. I must stop and ask myself, “What type of leader am I?” Am I a person who points out the obvious problems and offers no solutions, or am I someone that presents the challenge and has at least thought through one or two solutions to offer? It is easy to be a thermometer leader, but if you want to change the world, you must go further and become a thermostat type of leader.
- Aaron Dowell