There Is Power In The Paceline

Most Saturday mornings you can find me riding 100 km (60 miles) with 10-20 other cyclists in our local cycling club. The ride requires three hours of steady physical effort and mental focus because we ride closely together at high speed in what is known as a paceline. 

Every cyclist in a paceline takes his or her turn riding up front for a few minutes “pulling” the group. Pulling in the lead spot requires up to 40% more effort than the person riding immediately behind! There is no way the group could go as far, or as fast, if one or two people had to pull the entire way. So we rotate. We share leadership. This requires a lot of communication because people riding in line can’t see cars, people, or debris as clearly as those up front.

Eastside Cycling Club Paceline

During the last hour of the ride people are tired. Increased fatigue highlights the importance of staying together and keeping alert. At this point the body needs continuous water and calories, or else the brain gets fuzzy. All it takes to cause a serious crash is for one tired rider to lose focus for a moment, overreact by braking too hard, or touch another rider’s wheel. 

It’s during this final hour when my body is screaming that my brain makes a lot of connections between cycling well and leading well.

There Is Power In The Spirit

In the non-profit ministry in which I serve our team is about halfway into the implementation and execution of our shared 2019-2020 Digital Strategy goals. God has shown up. Lives are changing. Small teams around the world are creating more contextualized gospel content than ever before. 

But many of my colleagues have confided to me that implementing the vision is a lot harder than it looked. Some fatigue may be setting in on our long ride toward digital maturity. It’s not surprising. Projects look so easy on a consultant’s whiteboard with lots of bulleted lists in colored markers.

But innovation and change leadership is hard work. Failures, missteps, and conversation fatigue abound. We need perspective and power to stay the course.

Lately I have been meditating in the book of Galatians. Paul’s words give me fresh energy: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25). Paul’s command to keep in step with the Spirit comes from a military term that means “stay in line, follow!” The verb is plural in form. Paul is not exhorting a believer to be filled by the Spirit alone (though that’s important, too). He is calling the community to keep in step, stay in line, move together, in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Friend, are you fatigued in the middle of a long pull? I pray you will experience fresh power as you keep in step with the Holy Spirit. Let’s stay alert and agile. Let’s communicate. Let’s watch out for debris and adjust quickly. Let’s share leadership and pay attention to what God is doing around us so that we can move farther and faster together. If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

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Categorized as Leadership

By Ken

Dr. Ken Cochrum (DMin, Bethel University) is Vice President of Global Digital Strategies at Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in Orlando, Florida. An avid cyclist and aspiring guitarist, he also holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas and a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He recently co-founded Indigitous.org, a movement passionate about connecting people to Jesus using digital strategies. He previously served as vice president of Cru’s student-led movements worldwide. He and his wife Ann spent 13 years in East Asia where they raised their two children. Ken blogs regularly at www.onleadingwell.com.