My recent vacation taught me about the importance of a tour guide. During most of the time we were in Egypt, we had an AMAZING tour guide who has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Egyptian and a passion for guiding people through his country. He made the trip 10x richer than it otherwise would have been. The other thing that made him a great tour guide was his inherent personal hospitality that immediately put us at ease and made us comfortable in the most unfamiliar environment.
The week after Egypt, I went to Paris on my own, just to go. I knew I was seeing amazing, old, beautiful stuff, but for the most part I had no idea what I was looking at. I enjoyed it, and I did some research on my own, but most of the time I had little idea about what I was experiencing.
I had a professor in seminary who likened worship leadership to being a docent in a museum. When we go to museums or anywhere of artistic significance, we can walk around and gain a lot from what we see of the creative genius of artists. However, a guided tour can make the experience so much greater. When you have insight into the artists’ life and the context in which the piece was created, it comes alive for you in a totally new way.
I once heard leadership defined as “taking people to a place where they normally wouldn’t go by themselves.” I think this is especially true when you’re speaking of the presence of God. I think that those of us (I guess I’m still one of them? Still working that out) who are called to lead people into God’s presence need to be willing to go there ourselves before we take others, just so we know the way. We are something like the scouts sent into the promised land to report back to Israel. Yes, there are giants in the land, but also really big grapes! As Lucy said of Aslan in The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, “He is good. He is not safe, but He is good.”