Two things have happened recently that have me thinking about leadership. I got a call recently from a young man who wanted to write an article about me as being a “up and coming Christian leader.” He said he was writing an article for a small publication and wanted to tell the stories of “Christian leaders” under the age of 35. I politely told him that I was 37 and that I wasn’t sure an article like that would be good for my pride. Things like that tend to puff me up & not lead me to thanking God for what he is doing but instead to thinking I’m something special. So being old got me off the hook!
I also recently took a fairly in-depth personality test. The one that sends you back 70 pages about who you are. The type of test that kind of freaks you out with how accurate it is. The one that makes you wonder how did they figure this out from me answering questions like – “Which of the 3 do you like more – Puppies – Babies or Cookies and Cream Ice Cream ?”
Well, on this particular voodoo test I was told that I am off the charts apostolic, that I am a pioneering leader who loves to start new things. That coupled with my desire to lead, and the high D on the DISC test means that I have a serious sense of urgency to get things done. The results of the faith based test labeled me as a “Christian leader”
I guess “Christian leader” is the term I am wrestling with today!
Being a leader is a great place to be as a church planter or as a pastor but sometimes an awful place to be as a follower of Jesus.
Here’s the dilemma:
- Leaders lead – Followers follow – I am never told to be a Christian leader – I am asked to be a follower of Christ
- If I am a follower than God is the starter not me
- If I am to walk by faith then I need to wait & listen to where He leads me
- If I am to be lead by the Spirit – Then I can’t lead my own way
- If I am to allow God to light my path then I can’t create my own path
You see I was taught to be a go-getter, to make quick decisions, to be assertive, to be confident & to lead the way. I was taught to lead follow or get out of the way!
I wasn’t always taught to say
- I don’t know – Because I’m not sure God has spoken and I simply want to follow Him
- Lets seek God on that before we jump into something he hasn’t planned for us
- Lets slow down, pray & wait for God to direct us
- Or maybe the worst one of all – That is an incredible idea but I don’t think God is leading us there
Can I be honest – This doesn’t feel like what a leader does, it feels a little weak, a little too passive and a little bit lazy.
So we have started a simple exercise around our office where we create two sides on a white board (we have tons of them)
The first side simple says – WHERE HAS GOD SPOKEN
- On that board we write all the areas where we know God has asked us to move & to go. In those areas we plan, we act, we go , we do, we build. We do what American Christian leaders are supposed to do – We act! When God speaks we instantly move!
The second side simply says – WHERE DO WE NEED TO SEEK GOD – Where might God be speaking
- This is for areas where God might be speaking. Areas where God is stirring something but we are not yet certain of where he has asked us to go. In these areas, we wait, we pray, we seek God, we ask for His guidance, we seek biblical counsel from other leaders and we are passive. We do something very counter intuitive to the American Christian leader we wait.
One feels very much like leading – The other feels very much like waiting but both are teaching me that God speaks and we respond. He sets the course and we act. He guides and we move. That its His church and it isn’t run by “Christian leaders.” Maybe, I’m just wrestling with semantics but ultimately, I don’t want to be known as a Christian leader! I just want to be known as a follower of Christ!
Where do you need to lead & where do you need to wait?