Some years ago, long before the era of the digital camera, I had a chance to visit a photographer’s darkroom. In his darkroom there were wires strung from wall to wall and prints hanging off of metallic clips.  Strange electric lights dimly lit the room.  I saw chemicals, and shallow sinks and all different sizes of basins laid out on a long metal table.  All of these were arrayed in such a way, around the darkroom to facilitate the development of the negatives into clear pictures.

I was of course struck by all this. Because each step in the developmental process was designed to bring to realization what was originally only seen by the eye of the photographer, to show to others what only he saw when he was looking through the lens.  The entire process was designed to make open to others the photographers original Vision. The developer, who also took the pictures, painstakingly exposed the print to the different processes (printing, chemical baths, special lighting, and drying) until what he first saw – finally appeared on the print.

God does the same with Impact Leaders.  He develops them systematically and purposely by exposing them to situations and mentors. We see this process at work in the life of Moses and in the vast majority of impact leaders throughout the Bible.

Moses is strategically and providentially exposed to key leaders and mentors throughout his journey into leadership. And this process of exposure and mentorship produces in his life a picture of the impact leader that God had envisioned him to be at his birth.

The process becomes evident to us early in Moses’ life story as we see that before he is even one year old he is exposed to royalty.  Almost immediately – and before he himself can fully articulate or quantify it, he is “drawn out” of slavery and exposed to the highest level of leadership available in the area.

Exposure is critical to an impact leader because it is easier to envision something for your life when you have already seen it in the life of another person.

Being raised, educated, and mentored not only by free people, but by the freest of the people in the kingdom, no doubt had a profound impact on Moses.

Watching people who live life without limits makes one question whether previously perceived boundaries are truly barriers at all.  Moses was being raised and mentored by people who thought cross culturally and operated on a global and international scale even from his infancy. Why would it be surprising at all that God would later use him to be a cross-cultural bridge builder and to lead a cross-national exodus? His mentors at each level of his life are predictors of what he will be doing in his future.  They are the prophetic signpost that let him know that he is on his way to greatness.

While Moses did not have to actively seek out these mentors or this level of exposure, he obviously made full use of it.   Leaders who are desiring to be Impact Leaders should actively seek out these mentors and strategically position themselves to be exposed to life changing atmospheres.

Before you can have an impact you must first be impacted.  Then the picture of what God intended can then be processed through mentorship and exposure until it can emerge from the dark room of your preparation, to be the clear image that God desires in your generation.

Chris Hill
July 2015
Denver, Colorado USA