9.25.2012

Lessons Learned From A Trust Fall

Trust Falls and team exercises are a staples in youth ministry and organizations where a leader wants teach and illustrate trust.  If you are unfamiliar with the concept, one person climbs to a higher height than a group and falls backwards.  A group promises to catch the them when they fall backwards blindly.  I specifically remember one of the many youth groups I took to Awanita Valley that involved a trust fall.  This retreat center had a leadership/low-ropes course that I used with our group to build a "team" concept in the group.  Some of the lessons we learned were:

  • One person's actions impact an entire group
  • Not everyone can or should be a leader even if they are the loudest
  • Most leaps of faith do not make sense
  • Trusting in others is uncomfortable and does not come easy
  • There is peace, love and harmony when trust is proven.
These concepts are still true today in any organization.

Leadership Requires Not Only Trust In What You Teach But Trust In Who You Are Teaching

After all the youth had fell from the platform and experienced that brief moment of "I have no control, I hope they catch me", some of the over eager high school boys said, "Ok, James, now its your turn!".  I thought what are they talking about?  I had already let all the youth go and I assisted in catching each one.  They persisted, "You climb up there and fall, we will catch you!"  Now I am not a physics major but I knew I had over 150 pounds on these guys and even more on the girls.  (Weight x mass x velocity) You get the picture. I could either explain my way out of this or take the opportunity to show that I not only believed in what I was preaching but that I trusted and believed in them.  I am sure God was chuckling at this point.  He definitely has a sense of humor.

I climbed up on the 4 foot pedestal with my back turned to the group. I could hear the guys bracing for the impact and some of the girls thinking "This is crazy" but trusting the guys regardless.  I said my prayers, took a breath and fell backwards.  I experienced a moment for what seemed to be an eternity.  It felt like I was in a state of suspended animation like the Matrix. I could not save myself.  I thought, "What ever happens, happens and I must trust God and this group of daring youth to catch me."  Falling into their arms was such an expression of God's love for me and their love for me.  I learned they were not going to let me get hurt.  That was a milestone in my ministry.  Many of those youth have grown and have their own families now.  I wonder if they ever remember that day where they did something that did not make sense?  Regardless, I will never forget them and the way God spoke to me through them.

Psalm 138:8  The LORD will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me. 

Still to this day I find myself "Trust Falling" into God's will for my life  Do you? Do you find yourself trusting God when it does not make sense?  Is He calling you out of your comfort zone?  We can make plans but they rarely involve trust, sacrifice and faith.  We usually cater to our strengths but by doing this we only realize how weak we really are. If you want to learn more about God's love, trust Him when it does not make sense.  Remember He will NOT let you go. He will not abandon you and that His plans for your life are fueled by His compassion and love.