Leadership is wonderful…until it morphs into an idol!

Over the past 25 years, vision and leadership have become the topics of choice for pastors.

There has been a tidal wave of conferences, books, & podcasts devoted to helping us become better leaders.

Enormous energy and resources have been thrown at helping us become mroe effective in our pursuit of vision.

There was good reason for this as many pastors were equipped to exegete scriptuire and shepherd people but ill-equipped to provide organisational leadership.  As churches grew the culture changed, pastors had to learn the world of creating budgets, managing staff, casting vision, constructing buildings, raising money, programming worship services and managing change.

The focus on leadership filled a massive void, and we have all been the benficiaries.  Leadership is wonderful…until it morphs into an idol.

All of the training and focus on leadership has been a gift, but we must not turn it into an idol. In trying to fill the gap with leadership resources, inadvertently we have marginalised the soul side of leadership.  The result is a crisis – the spiritual health among pastors.  We have neglected the fact that the pastor’s greatest leadership tool is a healthy soul.  Our concentration on skill and technique and strategy has resulted in de-emphasizing the interior life.  The outcome is an increasing number of men and women leading our churches who are emotionally empty and spiritually dry.

We’ve all witnessed the carnage of leaders who’ve had to leave ministry because of moral failure.  The headlines are always about the scandalous and shocking behaviour, but rarely mentioned is the back-story.  It is the story of a neglected soul and mismanaged charcater.  Of a slow drift into relational isolation.  Of being seduced by ambition.  These leaders didn’t intend for it to happen, but somewhere along the journey they stopped paying attention to what was going on inside them. The shift was incremental and imperceptible.

Consider how the convergence of outward success, self-deception, soul neglect and relational isolation creates the perfect storm for disaster?

Pastors are leaving the ministry in record numbers. Discouragement and disillisionment are epidemic among those who lead. Obsession with numerical growth has created a generation of pastors who feel like losers.  Many are choosing to fire themselves rather than fight it any longer.

We may be better leaders than we used to be, but the evidence says that we are not better pastors or husbands or Christ followerers.  It is no longer safe to say that those of us who lead in the Kingdom are on track spiritually.  When it comes to leadership you cannot separate leadership from the leader.  You can’t divorce the message from the messenger.  Yet we can become quite adept at projecting an image that does not acurately reflect what’s going on inside of us.  Godly leadership is always inside out.

It is dangerous to equip church leaders with vision and leadership technique without equipping them to be spiritually healthy.  True spiritual dignity coms from a healthy soul and a life marked by spiritual power and the presence of Christ.

With everything that is within me, I believe Jesus Christ is the hope of the world.  And I believe the church is his plan for accomplishing his purposes on earth.  It is breathtaking to ponder the possibility that the Great Commission counld be completed in our generation.  We have unprecedented opportunity, technology, cooperation and resources.  Never before has the church been so poised for global impact.

However, the Great Commission will not be fulfilled by human ingenuity or innovative thinking alone.  This God-sized task will only be completed by Spirit-filled, spiritually healthy churches. And these churches will not be spiritually healthy unless their leaders are spiritually healthy.

Its time we went back to the basics.  Its time to swing the pendulum back towad the soul and toward spirutal health.

I want to get to the finish line still in love with Jesus, still in love with the church, still in love with being a spiritual leader.

Extract from “REPLENISHMENT” by Lance Witt

Compiled by Janine Couchman

 

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