I Am A Leader: Thoughts on Leadership from Alan Graham

Welcome to the I Am A Leader blog series, featuring leaders who make a difference. Today’s guest blogger is Alan Graham. Alan is the president and founding member of Mobile Loaves & Fishes. He is married (since 1984) to his wife Tricia and they have four children; Decker, Taylor, Marlee & Keaton and a niece, Samantha, that they have raised. Alan formerly was in the real estate development, investment, management & brokerage business in Austin, Texas having founded Trilogy Development, Inc. and co-founded The Lynxs Group, developers of on-airport air cargo facilities. It has been through the love for Jesus Christ that Alan is called to serve in this ministry, enabling others to serve their brothers & sisters in need. 

Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around His waist. John 13:5

This is the ultimate example of leadership; to serve others.  It is that simple and really not that complicated.  Gird yourself with the tools you need and go down on your knees and begin serving.  The next thing you know you will have a whole bunch of followers.  So what are the tools we need?

This is different for everyone but what is clear is that all of us have been given many gifts by the Creator to be used for Kingdom purposes.  For me I have gifts in areas of communication, promotion, organization (not in the minute details!), motivation, and compassion.  These are the skills I use every day in my work with Mobile Loaves & Fishes.  You may have gifts in teaching, preaching, cooking, creating music and art, software development, negotiating, and labor.  All you need to do is understand what those gifts are, what you love to do and begin to use those for His glory.  Most of us know pretty early on what those unique gifts are but what is difficult is how we use those gifts to serve others.

In Genesis 2:15, “Then the Lord took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and care for it”.  It is through this sentence that we can understand God’s purpose for each of us.  First He wants us to be settled, to be at peace and in a place of community.  Then he wants us using our gifts both purposely and relationally.  He wants us cultivating.  For some it is literally in the garden for others it is in areas using the gifts we have been blessed with.  When we are settled and cultivating purposely we can now move into the place where we can “care for it”.  The “it” is the Garden of Eden.  So the only way we can serve Him is to serve “it” and that includes man whom He placed in the Garden of Eden.  So if we serve Him we can only do that by serving others and it is only in that service to others that we can ever call ourselves leaders.

For me personally my most important roles are as husband and father and my leadership role with Mobile Loaves & Fishes.  I am also very involved in the Scouting community and enjoy very much being able to help move young boys into becoming young men.

As far back as I can remember I believe I have always been identified as a leader.  Of course, there were times when I was leading in purposes unrelated to Kingdom work.  Just about everything I have been involved with I have risen in my leadership role.  For some reason I like it there.  I would love to say that it is always with humility but I think that may not always be the case.  I love the art of leadership though and have spent a lot of time studying great leaders.  I continue that to this day.  Currently, I have spent a lot of time learning from John Maxwell a noted author and presenter on leadership.

As I reflect back on my life I can clearly see how everything has pointed me towards my role here at Mobile Loaves & Fishes.  This is the place where I have been able to hone and continue to hone my leadership skills.  To be able to lay out a vision, to be a part of charting the course for that vision and to surround one with brilliant people who believe in the vision is something beyond joyful.  Ultimately though, the greatest leaders are those who prepare and lift up others to take their place.  I pray that part of my legacy will be to empower others to lead; particularly to lead me and that I have the courage to step aside to be lead.

A special thank you to Alan Graham for sharing his insights about leadership with us today! Please share this blog post via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter using the #iamaLEADER hash tag! You can connect with SOS Leadership on Twitter here and Alan Graham here.

Check out all of the I Am A Leader blogs here!

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