Cultivating Extraordinary Courage

by Apr 30, 2016Courage, Cultivate, Voice4 comments

Every day we have an opportunity to cultivate extraordinary courage in others through our calling, in our teams, through our sphere of influence—sometimes simply through our words or our presence. Let’s dialogue about this topic. I don’t have the answers or a complete picture, and so I hope to hear your voice. I’m a willing learner, an experimenter, someone who feels called to be a courage-advocate but admittedly struggles with courage herself.

Some who similarly struggled, inspire me. Jeremiah the prophet felt unsure and unready but later could not keep silent (Jeremiah 1:1-2; 20:9).

Others inspire me by their earnestness to move forward in the face of opposition—like Joshua, who led God’s people into battle to claim the land that was already theirs (Joshua 1), or the sick woman who defied cultural norms to venture into the streets of Capernaum to find Jesus (Mark 5:24-29).

Each of these individuals stepped into and inspired boldness, even while they were weak, struggling or facing opposition. God equipped and used them to shape a culture of extraordinary courage.

That’s encouraging. Perhaps we can stretch our courage legs to move into those transformative places where God calls us to take flight. This might be to speak up, to venture out, to contribute, to lead and influence in ways that extraordinarily change culture.

We say yes and take that step. He supplies the courage.

Where might you be too comfortable or stuck in spectator mode?
How might God be inviting you to creatively cultivate courage in your team or spheres of influence?

Build a Culture of Courage

I fully believe our influence creates an environment where courage is either nurtured or thwarted.

I’m quickly kicked out of my own comfortable, self-feathered nest with evaluative questions like these:

  • Am I intentional about how my presence, contribution, or role impacts others? Am I God-led?
  • Is the environment a nurturing space where each person feels confident that she can be all God created her to be?
  • Is she barely surviving because of how I lead or is she encouraged and freed to take creative, bold action?
  • Does each person sense she is seen and valued, and therefore supported in taking her own courageous next steps?
  • Does she feel free to experiment in taking creative, bold steps, with room to fail, learn and grow?

In other words, it seems that inspiring courageous action as a culture flows out of first seeing and honoring the people around us as unique, contributing individuals.

What questions would you add for your own evaluation?
What questions would you contribute here to help us all better cultivate a culture of courage?

Be Intentional

I tend to enjoy lingering in the creative stages of playing with ideas, so at times I need a push toward stepping into action. I’m guessing some of you are with me there.

We can ask ourselves, what is the courage impact or culture I want to intentionally create, and then set specific actions that will accomplish that. For instance:

I want others to sense and feel free to step into courage to:

  • Be heard and seen
  • Tell their story
  • Change and grow in ways that support who they are
  • Contribute out of their unique personality and gifts
  • Be experimenters and innovators, without a fear of being wrong or failing
  • Honor fully how God is leading them

Therefore, I will:
Get to know each person as an individual, listen to her story, ask what she would most love to contribute, hear and value her voice, give her room to be innovative and to experiment.

Thinking about the individuals within your sphere of influence,
what intentional courage steps would you cultivate through your leadership gifts or roles?
In your teams?

Begin Where You Are

“Begin where you are” is a courage value that we celebrate through Voice of Courage. God calls us to lead others with impact right where we are today, with who we are right now.

Start with the simple prayer, “Jesus, use me.”

See where he takes you in cultivating extraordinary courage within yourself and within others. Tell us about even the small steps you are taking, the new realizations you are discovering. We’d love to celebrate with you!

We’d also like to hear your voice on this topic. Add to the dialogue!


  1. Bethany

    As a leader, I think cultivating courage in the lives of others is only fully possible when we’ve boldly modeled it in our own lives, first. If my life doesn’t reflect the truth that God is faithful, powerful, and trustworthy, then my words of encouragement will have no real impact on those I lead. I think courage can change our culture–but only when we as leader’s become willing to not only act courageously in private matters of faith, but to do it while on public display. That’s where the true “rubber” of courage meets the “road” of faith. Great topic. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jan Kern

      Oh yes, Bethany—thank you for highlighting those. Let our lives most of all reflect God’s trustworthiness, faithfulness and power! And yes, it’s abiding in Him and knowing Him well that creates space for His ongoing inner transformation that ultimately overflows into interactions with others and our leadership. Wow, what an opportunity we have to enjoy this amazing inner and outer rhythm of His work in and through us as we cultivate authentic courage!

  2. Susan Sage

    I actually would only add to the question “Does each person sense she is seen and valued, and therefore supported in taking her own courageous next steps” by adding seen, valued, and heard. You mention being heard in the section which begins with “I want others to sense and feel free to step into courage to:”. I simply think it’s an important addition to the earlier question. I think we can’t really be seen without being valued and we aren’t truly valued until we are heard.
    Just my two dimes worth (inflation, you know!)

    • Jan Kern

      Great addition. Add “heard”! After all, this site is about Voice of Courage. Thank you, Susan. I owe you two dimes–at least!

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