Oh boy, I have to get my ideas down while they are still fresh in my mind. I am 61 and a half you know! I remembered this incident from early on in our church’s life. We were beginning to grow at a nice pace and a guy visited one Sunday. As I introduced myself and he told me his name I recognized the name but was not sure from where. The I remembered a good friend of mine had told me about him and had said he was a really good guy. Truth is at one time he had come to Toledo to plant a church near the UT campus...but his leaders had discouraged him from doing this. Not sure why, some leaders that have titles like control and I kind of felt like this guy had got the short end of a story like that.
Anyway I went back to him and told him I had heard of him and how I knew this guy and that guy and we hit it off well. When you are at certain stages of church planting you are looking for other leaders to come alongside to work with you. He began to come around a little...kind of sporadic but making noises like he really liked what we were doing and felt at home here. He was gone for a couple of weeks so I called him to see if he was OK...this is what we do you know.
When we connected we got together for coffee and to chat. I kind of teased him by saying, “ I called to see if anything had happened or to see if maybe I offended you. You know us pastors. We are an insecure group.” He responded with, “I am not insecure.” Nervous chuckle on my part...I was insecure...he wasn’t. AWKWARD! Later I realized...he was not leading anything! Why should he be insecure? He was sitting on the back row with his big responsibility being taking up the offering...and I mean passing the buckets not from the platform.
I mean he did seem quite confident...and I know he had been extremely hurt by the other leaders...and I think he was quite gifted. Leading nothing. Not insecure...but not too secure I think also. I always wondered why, if he felt like God was sending him to plant, he would let someone else talk him out of it. Now I am thinking I could use his help here...we have room for more leaders...we might even be able to send him out to do the plant he felt like God had intended him to do. He disappeared...well went back to the safety of the large church where he could be secure...in knowing he was not leading anything. Sad...really sad.
I have a feeling as I read scripture Moses was pretty secure out there watching sheep hanging out with his wife and kids. It was not until the burning bush and God calling him out that his insecurity shows up. Gideon was fine hiding in the cave smashing grain until the angel shows up and says, “Have I got a job for you!” I have to admit it is hard to lead with much insecurity going on in your life...but on the other hand if I am too secure in my abilities, I may miss what God is trying to do with me and in me.
Funny how I remember that moment...really not that significant...and yet I remember. I do wish I had been a more secure leader...but the key is...I was leading. I had said yes...when others thought maybe I shouldn’t...when I thought I shouldn’t...waiting for the “real” leader to appear. Turns out he was already in the room...it was me. Strange how that works isn’t it.
I came across this guy a few more times at church events...I think he had a hard time remembering who I was. (imagine that!) Whenever we talked it was obvious he was still secure...and not leading. Sadness usually entered my heart as I thought about him...think about him now. I really do think he was a leader...probably would have done well. We are all secure in the boat...well kind of...but when you get out of the boat...watch out! It is a different world outside the boat. Insecurity explodes...until we look at Jesus...and He leads us back to the boat.
Please do not read this as criticism of this fellow or me bragging on myself...nothing could be further from the truth in either case. John Wimber would say, “You know you are a leader when someone is following you.” While I so rejoice in this journey God has taken my me on and still has me on...I pray for those who began the journey to leadership and stopped. Lots of good men and women have been hurt or convinced they are not leaders and so they stop. Safe and secure in the background...but not fulfilling what God has called them to.
So this regular, reluctant, insecure guy will sign off now...knowing I am no longer reluctant or insecure...well not too reluctant or insecure...and still a regular guy.