This is what I do, don't try to understand how I do it; I don't really know either

Posts tagged ‘leadership’

Sheep Stealers

People who attend church are often called sheep. It’s a reference Jesus used in the New Testament to refer to His followers (John 10:4 … and his sheep follow him because they know his voice). Jesus identifies himself as our Shepherd.

I was reading today in 1st Corinthians and in the first few chapters, Paul is giving a rebuke to the church about their petty jealousy and their disunity. Some members of the church were saying they were followers of Paul and others Apollos, others Cephas and others Christ. They were arguing about whose sheep they were. Paul gives a strong rebuke on their disunity and then he is very clear that the gospel is about Jesus – not anyone who baptised you or whose church you attend.
 
He continues with this in chapter 3: “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
 
Did you see what he did there? It’s all about God – not us. Not who we follow or who we lead. A wise mentor of mine once told me, “There is no such thing as sheep stealing because there is only one shepherd.”
 
I love the diversity that is the body of Christ. I love that if I want to worship Christ with brothers and sisters  in a more liturgical service, I can do so. If I want to worship Him in a more contemporary way, I can do so – sometimes even in the same day.
 
If we as leaders really believe that success is not in the numbers: Followers Are Not Fruit, then we will loosen the death grip we have on the attendees at church.I am in no way advocating for a careless leadership that has no regard for the people in the seats but that we can give people the freedom to move in the body as they need without anger and jealousy. People will feel the support to find a home where they can grow and be successful sheep under the one Shepherd..
 
 
 

sheep

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Pop the Pastor Bubble

I am a licenced pastor. I preach Sunday sermons, I lead outreaches, I have married people and thankfully I have never officiated a funeral, but I can. I do not let my title define me. I do not even allow people to call me pastor- it’s what I do, not who I am.

I have been finding an interesting phenomenon. When people find out (or I tell them) I am a pastor they treat me – normal. Occasionally when people first know me and what I do, they try to not swear around me but if they hang out with me long enough it fades, and I’m glad. I don’t want anyone to pretend to be something they are not when I am around.

I was thinking about this recently because not all pastors are that way. Some live in a bubble. I have seen it way too often. So I wondered why do people not put me in a bubble? I hold the same title, do the same job.

I conclude that there are two reasons: I don’t let people put me in a bubble and I don’t put myself in a bubble. As a people, we want idols and stars. We want perfect people on pedestals to lead the way. No one can live up to that and when they don’t we are so outraged at the bad example they set for our daughters on MTV. If others are perfect we can look to them and not have to be role models ourselves, or we can pretend to be a group that looks really nice on the outside.

The flip side is leaders who are fakers and want people to see them as more exalted than the people they lead. I get the trap – I’ve fallen to it before. Someone is in awe of you for some thing good you did or whatever and it feels good. It’s hard to be vulnerable when your in the spotlight. Your weaknesses and faults show throw exponentially. You talk less about the issues your having or pretend to have it all together so some can look up to you. It seems easier to tell someone you know the way, than to be honest and say I don’t have an answer but let walk this together. The first answer gets you home by 5 while the second means life gets messy and interrupted.

Pastor bubbles suck more than any leadership bubble. The bubble draws attention to ourselves when we are supposed to be pointing the way to Jesus. The very people we’re supposed to be helping, we are hurting. If there is ever a safe place where people can be real, honest and vulnerable it should be the church. Many have failed at this because of bubbles.

If your in a church or organization where there is a leader, please recognize that leaders are people too. We screw up, we hurt people, we make mistakes, we bleed. No one has it all figured out today. We crucified the one guy in history who did. If the leader above you wants you to see them that way then get out fast.

If your a leader, pop any bubbles that come your way. Don’t pretend. Be real, be honest, be vulnerable. It’s true that if you live that way there are people who will go and look for a “better, more perfect leader who has all the answers.” Let them. Jesus said he came for the sick. The sick need someone who can get them to the hospital and I will tell you the church is not the hospital – Jesus is. As leaders and as the church, we are the ambulance.

bubble burst

There’s only room for 1 on the pedestal

As a leader I am very aware of my weaknesses and failures.  Being in front of others brings a feeling of amplification of those areas. I am also very aware of the impact they have on others. That awareness helps to keep me accountable but it also stirs in me a temptation to hide those things.

There are lots of people who look to leaders as perfect people. Flawless. They put them on pedestals. It’s easy to be caught in that and feel like you have to maintain this perfect image and pretend to be superhuman. You want to be their hero. You want to be the one to save them and make everything better.

Who else could do that but a perfect person? This is so true and I am not him. Neither is any other leader on this earth in bodily form today. There is only one true hero and only one that can save and His name is Jesus Christ.

He can use me, yes but not to save anyone. That work has already been done on the cross. He uses me to love like He loves. I get to be his hands and feet on this earth today. I point the way to the true hero.

In order to do that, it means I have to first and foremost recognize that I am not Him. I have to make sure no one is putting me on a pedestal that I do not belong on. I have to make sure that I am not putting myself on a pedestal that was never intended for me.

An easy way to do this is to be open and accountable with my faults. This doesn’t mean my failures are on auto-post to social media, but it does mean I have an accountability team that know my inner workings. It also does mean that I am real with the people I lead. I find that the more real and open I am about my pain and about my screw ups. The more people can relate to me.

It’s how I relate to Jesus. He was fully human. He was tempted, he felt afraid, he was alone. He hurt and bled. I can relate to that. Jesus was the perfect human and He is also the perfect God. Without Him being God, His work on the cross is just a sad waste of a perfect life that shouldn’t have been ended.

Him being God and coming to earth, then dying for my sin bridges the gap that exists between my Holy and Perfect God and this sinful human. He saves me from my sin and failure.

That deserves a place on the only pedestal.

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I am a pastor

I am a licensed and ordained pastor.
I wrestle with my faith.
I struggle with temptation.
Every person has a calling. I have the title of pastor because part of my calling includes leading people.

Leading others doesn’t mean I don’t have difficult times, or don’t ever question things anymore.

I actually think it means I have a duty and obligation to question things more, on behalf of the people that I lead.
We all have a lot of different options every day. Even though we hardly recognize the fact, we are often at crossroads.
Each road will take you somewhere.
Some roads lead to challenges,

some to character development,

some to harm and

some to many other things.

Each and every decision we make takes us down a road.
Recently I felt I was standing at crossroads, and took a good long look at each one.

Some were very, very tempting.

Some were even familiar, based on habits and patterns from long ago.
I did look long and hard.

Maybe even with moments of longing, because in some ways those roads are easier, if only for a time, and familiarity breeds comfortability, even if it involves dysfunction.
I realized I was like a vacuum plug.

The cord gets pulled by pain and life events, and it starts to detach from the wall.

The vacuum motor starts to sputter.

It’s not as effective at its job.
In order to be useful it must remain plugged in.
I am a light.

I am not a light source.

If I disconnect from the power supply, my light flickers and starts to fade. I have to remain connected if I am to shine brightly.
Being connected also helps me pick up my feet and chose the harder but better road, because I am not who I used to be.

With each step I am being transformed into the likeness of my Savior.

Hopefully others will follow, because I am a pastor.