Sunday, February 17, 2008

Being a Leader

In our beginning, we fell apart. I read every leadership book I could find. I applied all the principles to the best of my ability, and I think that’s what went wrong.

The problem with leadership books is that they are written by people that have seen great results from their leadership efforts. All these authors are clearly excited about the vision that has and continues to motivate them. Their enthusiasm for the vision seeps from every word they write. They feel driven to bring about the vision they cast. Somehow the arrogance of that position never quite seemed to be the point I understood.

Christian leadership books often point to the story of Moses resisting God’s call to make the accurate point that a leader needs to be humble. Somehow in the text, however, the humility they propose is drowned out by the passionate, invariable, dedicated pursuit of the success evident in bringing about the vision.

But Moses was not merely humble; he was completely averse to taking a leadership position. He refused to obey God unless Aaron would take the role of official spokesperson. Jeremiah refused to lead. Jonah refused to lead. Gideon refused to lead. Barak refused to lead. Jesus refused to allow the crowd to coronate Him. None of the twelve asked to given the title of “apostle.” When they did seek a position of honor, Jesus rebuked them.

Allow me to go so far as to say that any person that seeks a leadership position will not be a good leader. A person that seeks a leadership position is invariably pursuing an agenda. When I started this church, I did so reluctantly. I stated plainly that I did not believe I had the right skill set to be a pastor. But when 40 or more people immediately followed me, it went to my head. I drew the false conclusion that using the skills I had, and learning from other leaders, I could be a leader in a great work. That became my goal. That’s when it all blew up. It blew up because so many strong personalities followed my lead and set up their own agenda.

In fact, every faction in our little group was led by one strong leader whose agenda was essentially the same as mine. “This church will be a place where I can prove my competence and value.” A painful implosion by conflict was the inevitable outcome. As we rebuild this church, my reluctance to lead needs to stay further entrenched. I am convinced that I do not have the skills necessary to build a church, with God’s help, I’ll never believe otherwise.

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