I grew up in Morton, IL. Washington was the neighbor community 8 miles away. We knew many people in Washington. My brother and his family lived there for many years. The pictures of devastation in Washington are hard to imagine. In many areas of town, you cannot even discern what street you are on, due to virtually everything being wiped out. A sign reading “Welcome to Washington” was found in Streator, IL, which is 55 miles away.


This event led me to think about a key aspect of servant leadership:

Servant leaders look out the windshield, and not the rearview mirror.

In any situation, particularly one like this where there is no blame to be placed, it is best to look forward and lead towards a better future. Dwelling on the past can provide prospective, but if we look only at the past we will never get to see the present or look forward to the future. If you drive a car looking in the rearview mirror you will eventually crash.

Servant leaders have the ability to expand the windshield and diminish the rearview mirror. They see the best future in even the most challenging of situations.

Servant leaders DO NOT:

  • Try to hide the past
  • Try to blame others
  • Punish themselves for things gone bad.

Servant leaders DO:

  • Take responsibility for the past
  • Learn from the past 
  • Focus on building a better future
  • Provide optimism in the face of uncertainty
  • Provide hope in the midst of challenges
  • Believe in people, and how they can respond in tough times

Please join me in praying for the community of Washington, and the strength, guidance, and leadership they are going to need to come through this un-fathomable natural disaster.

Mark Deterding

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28