I began this blog under the name “Thoughts of A Reluctant Leader” and after some feed back I changed it though it is still there somewhere. I meant it from the perspective I never sought out leadership role. And as it was thrust upon me I did not grasp it as if it were a perfect fit. Like all leaders you do have to find your own armor to put on…Saul’s will not work for you. For many of us John Maxwell’s way might not work either…you have to find your own way. As you find your way you look back to see if anyone is still following. I do think I have perfected the Jesus leadership or crowd control method. One time a friend of mine said he was coming to our church to check it out…I think I talked him out of it. Man, was Barb angry with me;) Jesus would look around and if the crowd was pretty big He might teach something difficult and then say something inviting and including like, “Let him who has ears hear.” Then shut down the meeting…how inclusive is that? Seeker sensitive? I digress.
I tend to think it is kind of arrogant for me to put out there my thoughts on leadership…and yet I know there are others out there that do get what I talk about. I do think you can lead from a position of humility, you can lead without knowing all the answers. You can lead when you are only a half step ahead…you can. My favorite prayer in scripture is Jehoshaphat praying in a desperate time of his kingship. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12 I am pretty sure he prayed this out loud! The freshness of having a leader confess his weakness and depending on the Lord. What might it be like to hear one of our national leaders confess they did not know what to do…but were fixing their eyes on Jesus? For sure he would be roasted in the press… but would we rally around them knowing God would be faithful to respond to such transparency and humility? Ahhh…I can dream.
I was taking with friends yesterday from another country and they were so taken back by our U.S. model of church where we have turned to business models to run the local church. Hiring search firms to hire new staff…hiring outside the tribe we belong to for our new leaders. Like our values are not important as long as the person give a nod towards them in agreement. “Sure, I believe in that too…no I have no experience in that area but I believe it.” We want to see the test results from all the personality, IQ, gift mix, and a multitude of other tests that I am sure help but do they answer the big questions. Yes, the gift mix is awesome…how are he and God doing? Can you discover their character in a test? Passion? Because he passes our eye exam do we know they will fit in our church body? Sorry…I know I am a bit outdated…but I have seen enough over my 40 plus years of being a believer to know…the guy who passes all the tests…many times does not fit. Sorry…look around…search out the results.
Man I am wondering around a bit…I think as I turn this corner of life knowing I am racing towards the finish line I have thoughts and concerns for the Church. I am in a season where our church has shrunk a bit…transition is all around me…I feel the pain of rejection deeper than I used to. I hear all the talk of the new churches around us that are hot and happening and tend to think I am not that hot and happening leader for sure. It seems to me that every time I take a step forward and dare to be bold another bomb explodes nearby…one of my adult kids in pain…maybe both. Another marriage in the church is in trouble…another disease diagnosed. According to the books I need to walk through all of this like I am coated in teflon and things just run off because I’m the man of power for the hour. In my prayer times I cry out for relief and help…I do keep moving forward…as Rich Nathan would say, one step at a time. “Right foot, left foot. Do it again…right foot, left foot…repeat.” I know that will never sell a book or inspire someone to get on board but to be transparent that is leadership…you keep walking…one foot in front of the other.
Recently I was listening to a recording of our worship team from a Sunday morning. My daughter is now leading our worship and as I was listening to her and the team lead us in worship I was struck by one thing…I noticed she was belting out the songs. Even a brand new one she just let it rip…and I sensed the Lord saying to me, “You need to listen to her, Bill…really listen. You know all that is going on around her and yet she is leading with absolute abandonment. You need to join her in that abandonment…don’t hold back…don’t focus on the stuff going on around you. Let go…lead with abandonment. Lead with passion…lead with freedom.” Yes, I can learn from my adult children…shoot I learn from my grandkids! Some day I will venture out and talk about what a joy it is to work with your spouse and your kids…not today.