Build a sense of community among your team, shepherding them toward their next spiritual steps.


To look beyond the obligations of leadership to see the opportunities to impact people’s lives.


  • Read the article title “The Ways of the Sherpa”

  • Watch the TED Talk titled “Reimagining Empathy: The Transformative Nature of Empathy” with Paul Parkin and answer the corresponding questions

  • Watch the TED Talk called “Leading with Lollipops” on the power of a moment by Drew Dudley



Article by: Josh Linker // Verses and emphasis added by: Arty VanGeloof

If you set out to climb Mt. Everest, one of the first things you do is hire a Sherpa. Originally an ethnic group in Nepal, today a ‘Sherpa’ is the common term used for the leader of a mountain climbing expedition.

Thinking of yourself in the role of the Sherpa will help you become a stronger leader. This is especially true today where leaders must empower their people, not just command them . As we reflect on the treacherous conditions climbers must endure, it reminds us of Eastside’s current landscape and the need for courageous and thoughtful leadership.

Here are five powerful lessons borrowed from those tough-as-nails, yet compassionate, expedition leaders:

1. Your real job is to lead others to the top. Sherpas are successful by helping those around them reach their full potential. The same is 100% true for you as a leader in your own organization. Ironically, the more you make it about others, the more individual success you’ll enjoy.

Philippians 2:3 “ Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

2. Detailed planning saves lives. If your Sherpa looked up the mountain and just said: “Let’s go,” you’d sprint in the opposite direction. Great leaders carefully plot out each step of their attack to ensure a safe ride.

Proverbs 15:22 “ Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

3. Expect and prepare for setbacks. Sherpas routinely deal with unexpected weather, animals, obscured paths, and many other obstacles. Rather than becoming derailed, they build contingency plans and adapt in real-time . Do you?

Ephesians 5:15 “ Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”

4. Walk with your team. The role of a Sherpa isn’t to lead from afar. Instead, these leaders climb the mountain right alongside their teams. As a result, trust is built and success is achieved. You can’t ask your team to jump through fire unless you’re willing to do it too.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

5. Become a great listener. To reach the summit, Sherpas must carefully listen on many fronts. They need to truly understand input from their team, the basecamp crew, and other hikers. They also need to hear rapidly changing weather reports, advice from other Sherpas, as well as the latest advances in their field. Are you so busy talking that you fail to listen to others? Great leaders listen intensely and speak thoughtfully.

James 1:19 “ Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

The old-school ways of barking orders from afar, thinking you have every right answer, shooting from the hip, refusing to adapt, and putting yourself first have been rendered totally ineffective in today’s fiercely competitive economy. However, if you embrace the ways of the ancient Sherpa, you may just end up reaching that rarified air sought by many but enjoyed by few. It’s time to reach your own summit by shifting your approach.

No ropes or helmet required.


  1. Name a situation where someone has acted as a Sherpa in your development, growth and success at work or in your community. What was the significance of their role?

  2. In order for leaders to be impactful “Sherpas,”what characteristics and/or postures must they have?

  3. Walking alongside others you are leading takes commitment and patience. What might be some tendencies that could get in the way of leading effectively in this way?

  4. When thinking about the analogy of climbing Mt. Everest in this article, it is crucial for the Sherpa to help people identify and take their next steps. What are some common mistakes leaders can make in this area?

  5. On a grading scale of A-F, how would you grade yourself on your ability to help others identify their next steps? Why would you give yourself this rating? What are some ways you can improve in this area?


Watch TED Talk “Reimaging Empathy: The Transformative Nature of Empathy”

By: Paul Parkin



  1. Paul mentions that being able to receive empathy is one of the hardest part of relationships, yet it can be the most transformational. On a scale of 1-5 how would you rate your ability to receive empathy? What would you need to do to move that score to a 5?

  2. What role does perfectionism play in empathy?

  3. Does perfectionism in your life interfere with your ability to be empathetic?

  4. Has there been a leader in your life who has demonstrated empathy towards you? If not, name a situation where empathy was not used when it could have been. In either instance, how did that impact you?


Watch the TED Talk called “Leading with Lollipops” on the power of a moment by Drew Dudley here: 



  1. Share a “lollipop moment”...a moment when someone impacted your life in a huge way. Have you shared this with the person that affected you?

  2. When Drew gave the lollipop away what do you think his intentions were? Explain the power the Holy Spirit has in situations like this...explain it as if you were sharing this concept with a volunteer you were mentoring.

  3. “Leadership is not about changing the world but about changing the billions of people in it” person at a time. How has your view of leadership shifted since watching this video? Does this make you more or less confident to declare yourself a leader?

LEADERSHIP TAKEAWAY (To be completed during group discussion)