Editor’s Note: Leadership is incredibly difficult. Courage is essential for great leadership. Scott Musselman’s article is a great help in reminding us of the need for true, Biblical leaders. Remember: “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”” (Joshua 1:9, HCSB)
As a pastor, I wasn’t taught or mentored in how to be a leader. So I have had to dig deep inside to prayerfully find and develop an inner leader or suffer the consequences.
Perhaps you have been on that same journey. You would understandably assume that being a pastor is about being pastoral. But that is not the need of the church in our time.
Today, pastors have to discover what it is to lead people into a culture that isn’t looking for Christianity or the Church.
I remember when many pastors defined their ministries by the distractions – that that was the most important aspect of leading a church. So you sat in your office and waited for a member to stop by who needed a kind and Godly word.
That is ministry, for sure. But any Christian can and should do that. So what is unique about the calling of a pastor? What does it mean to be the leader of a congregation?
I’m a simple kind of guy. To me, a leader has followers. Look behind you. Is there anyone there? Make no mistake. This is hard stuff. Frankly, I don’t want to do it from a human perspective. I just came back from a trip to a Mexican beach. Perfect weather and the worries of the world seemed non-existent. Is that what God calls me to do? Eat, drink, and be merry?
So here is how I have tried to become the leader God wants. Perhaps you can relate and add some ideas of your own. I start with the types of things which many of us do that we must do, but that I ultimately found insufficient:
- I read about leaders and leadership.
- I went to conferences and workshops about how to be a leader.
I think many of us want to believe that doing these two things above should be adequate. After doing them, however, I knew how to be a leader but still wasn’t being a very good one. Here is where I found more assistance and effectiveness:
- I got a coach who keeps me focused. If you don’t have one, you need one.
- My church did a consultation which codified what I should and should not be doing.
- I met with people I considered to be leaders who confronted me where I needed it.
- I hang out with and pray with colleagues I honor as being leaders.
For me, this has not always been a pleasant journey. It is hard and often discouraging. I see this as taking up my cross for the sake of Jesus. It is what God is calling me to do. Can you relate? I can’t accept the temptation to find a paradise (like a church office?) to hide away. I have to discover the person inside that God has called me to be, to take off the outer garments of life and find where the Spirit of God dwells.
Can we walk together in mutual encouragement, finding the courage to be the leaders God desires and the Church needs? It means leaving behind what has been of the old wine and wine skins and risking our pensions and pleasures for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Honestly, this is exactly where I find meaning and hope in life. How about you?