A few summers ago, I took my adventurous daughter, then aged 10, to ‘Go Ape’. We were promised “unforgettable adventure” as we climbed and swung through the trees, high above the ground.
As I followed Emily climbing up into the trees, I started to struggle. The forest started spinning around me. I felt sick. My fear of heights had returned.
I arrived at the first tree-top platform, and hugged the trunk like a child with their favourite teddy bear. I was frozen to the spot, terrified to look down.
Emily was already on the next platform, dancing with delight. She turned around to see me hugging my tree:
“Daddy? Are you OK?”
To be honest, I didn’t want to answer.
Afterall, I’m the one responsible for her safety. I’m supposed to help her when she’s afraid.
Eventually, I told her the truth – that I was stuck.
“Can you help me?” I asked.
Then something extraordinary happened.
Emily came back and stood with me.
“Come on daddy,” she said. “You can do this. I’ll help you. We’ll do it together.”
And do you know what, we did. With Emily’s help, we went higher and higher, from tree to tree, and completed the course – together. It was absolutely brilliant.
Best of all, high in the trees, Emily grew taller. She saw that she could make a difference.
It was the highlight of my entire summer. And I think it was hers too.
“Can you help me?”
This is the question leaders don’t like to ask. Leaders are not known for admitting weakness and asking others for help. Despite the Bible’s caution to be realistic about our own abilities, we think that we should do it all.
But if we’re honest and ask for help, we’ll serve more effectively. Here are 3 reasons why:
1. Asking for help busts a powerful myth
There is a myth of the all-capable leader who can do all the important things. This myth keeps others small. It keeps charities and churches small. And it keeps you small.
When we ask for help, we bust the myth of the super-human leader and make room for others to serve.
2. Asking for help builds team
In real teams, everyone is responsible. It’s this shared responsibility that creates the commitment and action that marks out great teams.
When leaders ask for help they share responsibility. They say loud and clear ‘without you this won’t happen’.
3. Asking for help helps others to grow
When a leader says ‘I can’t’ they give an opportunity for someone else to discover that they can.
When you ask for help, others will step in and step up. And in that process they’ll grow – in skill, character, confidence and faith.
Sometimes the opportunities you give to others will clarify a calling.
‘Can you help me?’
Imagine the impact these four words could have.
Over to you
Why not take two minutes now, and ask yourself, what part of your ministry or life do you need help with today? Who can you ask to help?