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Pastor's Corner: God creates the leaders

 

October 18, 2019



The Biblical model for leadership is shaky at best. Someone sent me an internet meme that went like this: Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sara was impatient, Elijah was moody, Moses stutt…ered, Zaccheus was short, Abraham was old, Lazarus was dead … . God doesn’t call qualified leaders, but God qualifies the called.

I recently attended a workshop for pastors on transitional ministry. The reality is that every church is in transition because the conversation between culture and church has changed. This changing conversation can either hold us back in fear of the unknown or we can let it be transformational. The challenge of today for the church is to see itself for who it is now and live more faithfully in the present. How do we get the church to enter people’s lives? How do we as the church join what God is already doing in the neighborhood? God calls us to show up and be present. At its best, this transformational ministry will start a process where we don’t know the answers. In fact, if we think we have the solution, we might not really understand the problem.

As leaders — whether pastors or lay leaders — we are trust-agents. Research has shown that the top characteristics of high-trust leaders are: talk straight, demonstrate respect, create transparency, right wrongs (apologize when necessary), show loyalty, deliver results, get better (learn and improve), confront reality, clarify expectations, practice accountability, listen first, keep commitments, extend trust. We need to listen with the same passion with which we want to be heard.

In her book “Daring to Lead,” social worker Brene Brown, Ph.D., says, “we desperately need more leaders who are committed to courageous, wholehearted leadership and who are self-aware enough to lead from their hearts, rather than unevolved leaders who lead from hurt and fear.” This kind of daring leadership challenges us to say to ourselves, “I know I will eventually fail and I’m still all in.” If we lead from a place of fear, we will never have the courage to risk to go where God is leading us. Failure cannot be our benchmark of success.

As leaders, we will have a lot of voices seeking to tell us that their way is the “right” way. We have to get clear on whose opinions of you matter. We have to set boundaries that make clear what’s OK and what’s not OK, and why. Leadership is not about making everyone happy but about daring to do the courageous, hard thing that God has called us to.

Remember, God doesn’t call perfect, or even qualified, leaders. God calls ordinary, messy folks like you and I, and transforms us into leaders to carry out God’s kin-dom here on earth. Theologian Frederick Buechner writes, “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” When our passion and gifts align with the profound needs of the world, our ministry is transformed for the glory of God! Let us have courage as we trust and risk to be the leaders God has transformed us to be! We already have all the qualifications we need as God’s beloved.

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The Rev. Maggie Lewis

First Presbyterian Church, Havre

Chinook Presbyterian Church

 

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