Thursday reflections for week five

On Leadership

Recently I’ve been trying to balance a little dissonance between what I’ve learned about leadership, what I’ve experienced in leadership, what I’m learning about leadership, and what I’m learning in class. (Clear enough?)

I’ve always learned it is the leader who is to set the vision and the course for a group. Some people are called and gifted to lead, and when they are, they should use that gift and take those risks. But I’ve also seen that go too far. I’ve seen it be controlling. I’ve seen leaders who are good people squelch creativity and insight for the sake of staying on task and keeping a consistent vision.

It’s a hard-line corporate approach that feels wrong. But sometimes, I’ve seen fruit come from those ministries.

Through what I’ve been learning, I decided to take a different approach in the ministry where I am right now. I’d listen, learn the culture, talk to people, and help them see where God is leading. I’m a vision, big picture guy. I have ideas. But I thought I’d wait and let us go there together.

But I’m learning there’s a balance between those two extremes. While listening is important, at some point, you must act. Decisions need to be made in a corporate, healthy way, but they must be made.

On one side, God has gifted some to lead and cast vision. Plus, others want a vision to follow. On the other end, it is important to listen carefully, pray hard, and then cast the vision with an open ear. It may be coming from me, but for any ministry vision to be successful, it must be accomplished in the context of community.

More than anything, I think the question of balance and health in ministry is about recognizing people’s gifts. Anyone can have good ideas. Some people are more gifted and drawn to leadership. Others aren’t. Both types are needed.

So, I’m learning it’s important to be who you are. The qualities we’ve been talking about in this class of less hierarchy and healthy organizations without domination are important. I’m called to lead here, so I will take that position with both courage and humility. I have a vision and direction that I need, and want, to share. But I will share it understanding that I should never force an unnatural structure or demand action. It’s my job to share stories of what God is doing and live out the message. Once that is happening, people can choose to follow.

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