When you pass your baton to someone else you leave a legacy that can touch countless individuals that you will never meet.
Someone else won’t lead the way I lead
I recall a conversation with my friend, Cheryl Luke, several years ago. I was struggling with “passing the baton” to someone new. She reminded me that if Relate (formally Living as Conquerors) was to grow, I could not be at every session and lead every group. However, I had a carefully calculated plan. I believed that any potential leader had to follow my plan exactly or I couldn’t trust them. Pride and fear prevented me from considering even a simple change.
Trial by fire-Passing the baton to not one leader but 15
In 2007 Shoreline Church wanted to use the Relate materials as their women’s Bible study for the spring. The idea thrilled me until I realized that the first order of business was to find and train enough leaders for 50-100 women. Next, Cheryl wanted the 30-week program reduced to fifteen weeks to accommodate Shoreline’s schedule which not an easy task. Finally, the evening of the Kick-Off arrived! As women poured into the chapel, Cheryl and I were in awe! Over 400 women attended the event! We needed more leaders immediately! We trained about fifteen new leaders. I grew close to most of them. Over 100 women completed the 15-week course, but over 500 attended at least one session. I never met most of them. However, I still get messages, emails and texts from women impacted by this experience.
The experience helped me realize that a major part of God’s plan was for me to entrust Him with the mission He had placed on my heart. He led me to gifted, sometimes broken women. He helped me teach them, mentor them so they could lead the small group of precious women God sent to their group. He helped me pass the baton. Some of these leaders continue to lead groups. Others have become counselors. Some use what they learned to help their friends.
What does the Bible say about passing the baton?
Paul compares life to a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Tim 4:7). Paul refers to the “great cloud of witnesses” that cheer us on through the race. (Heb. 12:1). Imagine the race Paul describes. Runners of all ages, skills and abilities running for the eternal prize. In the grandstand, Abraham shouts, “you can do this. You are almost there.” As you approach the next runner with their hand outstretched for the baton. Moses joins in, “not too soon, don’t let go of it before he’s ready to grab it.” Joshua, Elisha, Gideon, Samson shout, “I have faith in you!” After successfully passing the baton, you hear another voice, not so loud, but it pierces through any doubt in your heart. “Well done, good and faithful servant… enter the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:21.
Letting Go of the Baton
In order to win the race, each runner must let go of the baton completely. Three years ago, I retired and gifted all the intellectual property of Relate to Cheryl and Eleanora Luke. Since that time, I’ve helped them get up to speed by holding the baton with them. Recently, I realized it may be time to let go of the Relate baton. They are taking Relate to places I cannot go. They are bringing the material into the 21st century and have fully captured the vision God gave me years ago. While I want to remain available for consultation, I realize God has other plans for me in the days ahead.
Writing my memoir is part of that plan. Through the memoir, I gain new insights every day. Those insights bring a new level of healing and a renewed faith in God’s steadfast and unconditional love for me. By sharing my journey, I think I am once again passing the baton to a generation desperately in need of hope. Writing about my healing journey is much more difficult than I expected, but I realize now that God continues His work in me. I still have a purpose and He is guiding me toward the finish line while the cloud of witnesses cheer me on.