Suppose you board an airplane for a nine-hour transatlantic flight with three hundred other souls. After the usual announcements about stowing your luggage and fastening your seat belts, the captain comes on the speaker, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Today we will try to fly this plane all the way to Paris.” I don’t know about you, but if I heard such an uncertain announcement from the highest ranking leader on the airplane, I'm certain I would get off and catch the next flight.


Just like you wouldn’t trust an airline pilot to try to fly an airplane, leaders who simply try don’t accomplish much and don’t inspire much confidence in their followers. "Try" may be the worst word one can use in leadership. As far as leadership is concerned, simply trying is a recipe for failure.


  1. Trying Does Not Motivate. Trying means you are unsure about the way ahead, and most people are unwilling to follow a leader who doesn’t know where he or she is going.

  2. Trying is a Compromise. Trying means you are less than fully committed to the outcome. Even if they fail, true leaders don’t try, they intend on succeeding.

  3. Trying Allows for a Way Out. If you are driving a heavy truck down a steep hill, a way out is good in case your breaks fail; but a way out in leadership is a temptation to quit when things get tough.

  4. Trying is Hopeful and Hope is Not Enough: Trying means you are depending on hope, and, as good as it is in other areas, hope is not a leadership strategy.

  5. Trying Counts on Outside Forces. Trying means you are only confident in accomplishing your goals if the circumstances are right, and we all know circumstances are not always the best. Successful leaders succeed in spite of circumstances.


In a few days I actually am getting on an airplane to Paris, and then to Yaoundé, Cameroon. I have full confidence in the cabin crew of those two airplanes. I don’t expect they will try to fly us to our destination. When I land in Cameroon, I will join a team to teach at a training conference for emerging leaders where I am sure those young men and women don’t expect our team to simply try either.

The overall purpose of our training is for alumni to accelerate the spread of the Gospel. The leaders we train are literally on front lines of reaching the world with the message of Christ, and our training helps them do so with more passion and effectiveness. This means their work with the lost will have eternal impact. When people’s eternal lives are in the balance, trying is simply not enough. There is a tremendous difference between saying "I will" and "I will try." We serve a powerful God capable of all things. Let's be leaders who leave little room for doubt and do more than try. Let's succeed!


Do you understand the eternal impact of your leadership for the spread of the Gospel to the least and the lost? What will it take to do more than “try” in your leadership?

by Norival Trindade