“What if…” This is a familiar phrase to anyone…

And “What if” is often a wise and important question for leaders to ask, but often the foundation of “What if” is fuelled by fear.

What if it doesn’t work? What if we don’t raise the finances? What if nobody comes? What if they don’t like the idea? What if there’s no response? You get the idea.

“What if’s” are everywhere right now. In every sector of society leaders are grappling and struggling with the way forward. What are your current leadership “What if’s”? It’s encouraging to know we are not alone. The bible is full of leaders who had multiple “What if…” moments. The life of Moses shows a typical ‘what if…’ that all leaders face at some time in their journey.

Exodus 3 records Moses call from God in the incredible burning bush moment that takes him from shepherding sheep to shepherding God’s people. In this holy moment, God does three things. He provides His presence, presents the problem and proposes the solution.

It turns out that Moses himself is the solution. There and then he is faced with the realisation that God is sending him. His doubts ‘Who am I to do such a thing? I tried it before, and it didn’t work’ are met with God’s encouragement that He will be with Moses. His reluctance is expressed by ‘what if…’.

“What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say the Lord did not appear to you?” (Exodus 4:1)

The following is an awesome exchange that empowered and propelled Moses’ leadership into the new season.

“Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say: ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied. The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground, and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then
the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

Leaders, we are in an all-change season and God is asking us to give up what is in our hands. Moses knew his staff and it was a comforting and reliable tool for his job as shepherding.

But it was an old staff for an old season.
Many of us are carrying the old staff in a new season and wondering why it’s hard. We are consumed with “What if…”? But God is calling us to throw away the familiar tools we have always led with. We are holding onto things that God is asking us to put down. We are holding tightly because we believe it’s these things which will get us through, like they always have before. The risk is that our need to control the outcome by clinging to the familiar will only result in a diminished season with diminished results.

We can’t lead a way in the new season with a tool from the past.

It takes courage to give up what is in your hands, not knowing what it will be replaced with but God is asking us to lead in a new, radical, faith-filled and supernatural way. Like Moses, we feel scared. It’s unfamiliar. We want to run away because letting go of the old is a threat to the life and leadership familiarity we are accustomed to.

But just as He did with Moses, God is saying ‘reach out your hand and pick up the new staff for a new season’. It takes real bravery to grab the snake by the tail and we’re going to have to trust God to be able to handle it. That supernatural staff Moses had went on to part the sea, and draw water from a rock. God said it was so ‘they will believe’.

Be encouraged that God is providing for us a bespoke and unique staff for a new season. Reach out and grab it because it represents His hope, His presence and His promise to us that He will be with us. Doing that will enable us to be better armed to address the ‘what ifs’ of leadership. We don’t know what the future holds but we do know that it is God who holds it.

Take courage in this new season and reach for the new. God will be with you as you do.