Leadership Lessons From J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek

randomlychad  —  August 2, 2011 — 2 Comments
'Star Trek - Outside Entrance' photo (c) 2008, Konrad Summers - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Yes, I know, the movie is a couple years old now. I rewatched it this past weekend on Netflix, thus it is fresh in my mind. While not a perfect film, it struck so many right notes that I’m willing to forgive the faux pas. It was a thrilling ride!

But you know right from the beginning that this ain’t yo’ daddy’s Trek. Forgive me if you haven’t seen it, but the tense sequence that begins the movie is one of the best done anywhere, anytime. I mean, come on, having George Kirk, as acting captain of the Kelvin, give his life so that hundreds–including those of his wife and newborn baby’s–of lives can be saved is powerful, emotional, evocative, and casts a long shadow.

There is, of course, an obvious parallel to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. George died so that hundreds might live, and Christ died so that all might find life.

The lesson here is that a leader gives all for his followers. An effective leader leads by example.

Some take up the mantle, and go and do likewise. Others–like George’s son, Jim (who never knew his dad)–find this long shadow too hard to live under, and thus don’t try to live up (at least initially).

My maternal grandfather was like this: he grew up in the shadow of his father, an itinerant minister. Simply put, he felt he could never live up–so he didn’t try. Though born in 1912, my grandmother called him the “original hippie.” He rebelled before rebelling was cool.

Oh, don’t get me wrong–the man had chutzpah. He was by turns a: farmer, logger, demolition expert, and moonshine connoisseur. (I suppose that last caused him a fair bit of trouble).

What he wasn’t was an effective leader. Like the young Jim Kirk of the rebooted Star Trek, he had “P.K. Syndrome” (“preacher’s kid”) something fierce.

Both my mom, and my uncle, inherited his industriousness, but not his faith. They’ve got the proverbial “Protestant Work Ethic” in spades, but (insofar as I know) no saving faith in Jesus.

In this way, my grandad was a lot like Lot: he had a relationship with the Lord, but didn’t pass it on.

'Star Trek One Sheet' photo (c) 2009, Marc Berry Reid - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I see some of the tendencies in myself–and it scares me. Like Jim Kirk, I’m having to learn how lead on my own. Unlike Donald Miller, I’ve never had a John Sowers, or a Bob Goff, in my life to show me the way.

But that’s neither here, nor there–I can only play the cards I’ve been dealt, and–unlike my grandfather–I choose the kind of greatness that counts. I choose to be a sacrificing leader.

My only question today is: will you pray for me as: I lead my wife and children in this kind of love?





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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers.Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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