It is time for the “necessary evil”. My annual blog post about a member of the Green Bay Packers. And having just spent a wonderful holiday with my Vikings-loving in-laws, I know that this will be a touchy one, but it helps that the Vikings are rolling and the Packers are struggling this year, largely due to Aaron Rodgers being out with an injury (sustained against the Vikings). You see when he came out of the game, his replacement was Brett Hundley, in his 3rd season out of UCLA.
And while Hundley has struggled a little in the NFL, so far, he has 2 TD passes and 7 interceptions and the Packers have gone 1-3 in his 4 starts, but he has an opportunity to learn the NFL game on the fly. He will have a chance to grow in his leadership at this level. And leadership is a word that defined Hundley over and over again at UCLA. Starting with this article about leadership from Brian Dodd, we read 7 leadership lessons learned from Hundley. Here are the 7 marks a leadership:
A great leader…
- Asks Great Questions
- Deals With High Expectations
- Never Takes Shortcuts
- Changes The Organization’s Culture
- Puts In The Proper Amount Of Preparation
- Develops Great Intelligence
- Offers Solutions
Not a bad list considering the teacher was a college freshman. It speaks volumes about the natural leadership skills that Hundley has, and while leadership skills don’t necessarily translate to Hall of Fame credentials, it is a good set of skills to carry through this life.
Another key piece to Hundley’s leadership is his faith in God. You can read in this excerpt from the book Playing with Purpose by Mike Yorkey, Hundley as a freshman, met with UCLA running back Jonathan Franklin (who was also a Green Bay draft pick) for Bible study and prayer. Word about these meetings spread and “by the middle of the season, more than twenty players met regularly for prayer and Bible Study.”
He also knows that leadership is something that only comes through God’s help. Another example of his leadership mindset can be found in this article from the LA Times. Here we read about how Hundley, when named the starter at UCLA, set up a conference call to his home church so he could ask the congregation for prayer. He said “I wanted them to pray for humility and health… I know this can all be gone in an instant.”
He knows that health issues can derail promise. He has seen it with his sister. He says “I play for her… I play because her seizures stopped her from running track, and she was faster than anything. Sometimes I think she can live vicariously through me.”
Here are my takeaways from Hundley’s story:
1 – Being a leader – Leadership is one of those funny words that we hear at conferences and read about in books. What makes a great leader? The list above contains some great pieces when we consider effective leadership. It makes sense for a team quarterback to be a leader, but in some ways, we all get asked to lead in some capacity. Where is God asking you to show leadership? Which of the areas mentioned above are you strongest in? Where do you need the most work? For me, I can tend to look for shortcuts, but only when I think I have found one do I realize that I need to make sure I put in the proper preparation. Shortcuts don’t seem to pay off for me. But mostly, I’ve learned that the key to effective leadership is humility. I like that Hundley asked for prayer that he would stay healthy AND humble. My prayer is that God would continually remind me of His work in and around my life and that I would also learn to remain humble, remembering that all that I have and all that I am able to accomplish is only done through His grace and leadership.
2- Following God attracts people – Hundley, newly named starter at UCLA, connected with another older student for prayer and bible study. Word spread and the group grew and grew. It wasn’t a conscious effort to evangelize the team, it wasn’t a church outreach, it was simply a couple guys, knowing the importance God needed to hold in their lives and in their football careers that met to challenge each other and grow in God. And people were drawn to that. How can you allow God into your daily and weekly life? What are some ways where you can be genuine in your desire to know God better? Are you willing to give God that place of importance in your daily world and be open to sharing God with others.