Studies show that mountaineers are most at risk coming down from the mountain rather than up. Summiting a mountain is a daunting prospect, but the real danger lies in coming back down. While hikers may feel they have conquered the hardest part after reaching the peak, in fact, 75% of falls and accidents occur on the road home. This is due to a mix of loose gravel, uneven ground, exhaustion and the physical exertion of walking downhill. They all combine to make the descent more treacherous than the climb.

I believe there is a leadership lesson for us to reflect on here… whilst the ascent of leading through CV 19 has been hard and strenuous, many have found it exhilarating and exciting as God has opened up new innovative ways of leading. It may be that the real test will be how we come through the following season, moving back into our routines and programs. It’s one thing to acquire skill, knowledge and competence on how to ascend well; we are leaders aiming at goals and finding new ways of doing our work. How we come through that season and into the new normal, leading others, is what will determine the success of our mission. We don’t know when that will be, but it’s vital that we take into account the way it will unfold. It’s important to take time to prepare, reflect and ready ourselves for the new reality, new ways of doing Church, new ways of influencing and leading.

Wisdom will be required to access the understanding of what triggers the slips, trips and stumbles in our personal lives and leadership spheres. How are you being discipled and led at this time? Are there areas that need a health check in order to ensure our descent is safe and spiritually sound? It’s prudent for a leader to prepare well for the emotional, physical and spiritual exertion we will feel as we continue into the new season. Planning well for this, making space and good choices will ensure we all come through well.

The challenge for all of us is to stay alert in the descent, as well as the ascent. We want to be leaders who finish well, and leave things in a better state than we found them.

Lord, please help us in this, we pray. Help us as leaders to hold fast to you, keeping our eyes on you and looking to you to help us climb up and climb down. We ask it in Jesus’ name, Amen.