(click for photo credit)

(click for photo credit)

On Sunday morning I was walking up the sidewalk at our Brier Creek Campus when I saw Robby, our Sunday First Impressions Director, coming from the other direction. He’d take a few steps, stoop down. Take a few more steps, stoop down. Over and over.

Step, step, stoop. Step, step, stoop. Step, step, stoop.

Once my bad eyes and new glasses adjusted, I could see the reason for the stoop: he was picking up trash along the way. Gum wrapper here, discarded Kleenex there, dropped coloring sheet over there.

Step, step, stoop. Step, step, stoop. Step, step, stoop.

In case you missed it in the first sentence, Robby is our First Impressions Director for Brier Creek on Sunday. He’s the man in charge. He leads a team of dozens of people week in and week out. He has a set up team that’s ready to do his bidding at that time of the morning. All he had to do was grab his walkie and dispatch a guy with a trash bag. But he knows one of the marks of a good leader:

Leaders pick up the trash. 

Picking up the trash isn’t something that we get beyond as we rise up the food chain. While it may be something that we delegate out to another team as part of their checklist and duties, it’s never not our job. If a leader sees a need and refuses to stoop to meet that need, they may not be a leader. They may be a title-holder.

Maybe your “stoop” isn’t always trash pick up. Maybe it’s taking time to pray for someone when you’ve got places you need to be. Perhaps it’s speaking a word of encouragement to a team member who is hurting. It could be replying to an email in a timely manner or pitching in on a project that’s not yours or taking on extra work that benefits the team.

Leadership isn’t dictatorship. It’s not rallying the troops beneath you so you can have a more comfortable life. Leadership always brings with it service. It always brings with it sacrifice. It always brings with it a humility that knows that trash pick up will forever be a part of our job description.

So how about it, leader? Got some trash that needs to be picked up?

Stop. Stoop. Lead.


Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Philippians 2:3-7