April 09, 2014
In my last post I gave the first 5 of the list. If you missed it you can read it here. In this post I want to give you the 5 remaining lessons I would tell my younger self. Here they are, and again, these are not in any order of importance.
6. Don't expect everyone to love you
As difficult as it is to accept, not everyone will warm up to you and want to snuggle. In fact, some will secretly wish you harm. I struggle with this, because at the heart of it all, I got into ministry to help people. Regardless, even though they may not always love us, that never absolves us from fulfilling our responsibility and calling before God. Its not about being loved, or even liked, but about being faithful.
I have been surprised, no, shocked, by the seething hatred I've received. The amount of vitriol that has been hurled at me has been staggering to say the least. I don't mean to make this sound like its a regular occurrence, far from it, but when it does rear its ugly head it comes with flaming arrows and sharp teeth.
7. Fear is the number one enemy
I know we are in a spiritual battle on a daily basis, but for the average person, fear is their main adversary. Fear of tomorrow, fear of relational failure, fear of financial ruin...the list is endless. It is no surprise to me that the number one command in Scripture is, "Do not Fear."
This is one I really wished I had connected earlier. For instance, I no longer speak exclusively about greed. Yes, greed is everywhere in our culture. But for the average person it is really fear that manifests itself as greed. Primarily due to the fact that many are fearful of their financial stability and future. It may appear as greed, but at the core its really fear.
8. Build on what does not change and change what no longer can stand
This is simply my way of saying that the message never changes but the methods do. I really believe this is the major reason the church loses ground. You may not agree, but I am struck by the apostle Paul's words in 1 Cor 9:19-27 when he states that he "becomes all things to all people in order to save some."
Are we more attached to the way we do church or to the message of the church? As a leader, when it comes to tradition and status-quo, you need to be careful, because they can be the greatest impediments to the Gospel. Just saying!
9. People live through two basic lenses. Perception and Expectations.
As a leader you will have to confront both. One of the primary ways you will confront these is with an oft neglected tool. Its called reality! I know I am being a little tongue-in-cheek here but this destructive duo can become any leaders nightmare. Couple these with a healthy dose of fear (no. 2 above) and you have a volatile cocktail.
A leader needs to be able to communicate reality, especially in the midst of doubt and uncertainty. This doesn't mean you have all the answers, but it does mean that you know what is going on and you have some idea of how to manage the situation.
10. Don't be afraid to lead but make sure you lead like Jesus
The world is in desperate need of leaders, but not if they are in it for their own glory or power. We've all had our fill of those types. But leaders with integrity, humility, and a bent towards benefitting others is always welcomed. I heard a speaker at a conference ask the crowd this question, "Are you building a monument to yourself, or an altar to God?"
That's a great question, and one I've used to check my motives and bring me back to earth. I would love to hear your comments and any insights you might have to share. Leadership is such an important commodity and one that we dare not neglect. Any wisdom you may have could help another in their ability to lead with excellence. Thanks!
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