Leadership with a Limp pII

29 Jun

I am continuing a series going through the book Leadership with a Limp by Dan Allendar. For previous post see here.

Chapter 1: A Leadership Confession – Flight is the Only Sane Response

“Leaders are dangerous. They can bite without provocation, or at least without logic, and it is best to stay out of their way or you’ll have to deal with the consequences. Leaders can seem capricious, aloof, narcissistic, and self-interested…Everything I despised in other leaders I have replicated in our organization.”pp12-13

“…There are no easy decisions. To decide requires a death, a dying to a thousand options, the putting aside of a legion of possibilities in order to choose just one. De-cide. Homo-cide. Sui-cide. Pratri-cide. The root word decidere means “to cut off.”…A good leader will, in time, disappoint everyone. Leadership requires a willingness to not be liked, in fact, a willingness to be hated.”

Flight is the only Sane Response

“When we’re reluctant to lead, doubting ourselves and our call, we are ripe for growth as a leader…God seems to choose leaders who don’t want to serve, and when they do follow God’s call, they often do so in a way that creates new chaos…(confidence in leadership ) This is a problem because we in academia fail to address the narcissism that drives many leaders. We enable troubled and manipulative men and women to devour their colleagues, their staffs, and their congregations simply because they’ve passed exams, written papers, matriculated through a degree, and gained the credentials to be called professionals.”

“We should bless men and women who have done their level best to escape leadership but who have been compelled to return and put their hand on the tiller…Why would this be God’s plan? Why does God love the reluctant leader? here is one reason: the reluctant leader is not easily seduced by power, pride, or ambition.”

Power
“A reluctant leader is highly suspicious of people who work to accumulate and hoard power…Reluctant leaders don’t aspire to hold power; in fact, they avidly work to give it away…It elicits the envy of others and many will want to take it. The reluctant leader detoxifies power by empowering others to bring their vision, passion, and gifts to the enterprise.”

Pride
“Pride is a perverted form of worship…Prideful people, however, never seem secure in their self-evaluation: they require a community to idolize their glory…A reluctant leader gets to boast in the foolishness of God.”

Ambition
“The reluctant leader is not looking for luxury or a large office, nor does she invest in the making of a kingdom. One way to identify an ambitions kingdom builder is her refusal to plan for succesion…the top executive begins to see every potential leader as a rival and a threat…The reluctant leader doesn’t merely give accolades to others…To be surpassed is the ideal To be replaced is the goal, not a sign of failure.”

Not sure how to even begin this. I am the definition of the reluctant leader. While Allendar seems to suggest that the reluctant leader isn’t susceptible to power, pride and ambition I assure you the reluctant leader is. His only advantage might be that he knows the pursuit of these things will only leave him empty and dry.

I can’t avoid thinking about how I stumbled into this church plant. It was my dream to plant a church when I was 20 and I have a journal entry where I wrote that I will be planting a church by the time I was 22. However, at the age of 22, I instead became a youth pastor. Power, pride and ambition may not have been in my job description but they fueled me. And it was good fuel.

For the first year I was a work-o-holic and I think it showed in the numbers and even in the students. I was very confident and I knew momentum was building and our group was going to explode in numbers and it would only be a matter of time before the former church I interned at with the high school group would regret not hiring me full time. Year two was a little more difficult as my goals and hopes weren’t quite achieved. Year three was hell. It was. Too many words would be needed to describe the emptiness I felt. It was over. I failed.

I took a positive step and found a church that I could get better at and have no responsibilities. I lead an occasional bible study and would do some guest speaking. Nothing big. People knowing my history would occasionally ask if I was going back into ministry. I had my standard answer that anyone who is a follower of Jesus was in “full time ministry”. But I knew what they really meant. Only I didn’t have the guts. I already failed. I didn’t have the guts or the track record to say that I wanted to go back.

I came back to Stockton and was given one opportunity after another to serve within a church and whenever the question was brought up I would shrug it off. It was my dream, it was what I wanted but…I failed.

All I know is that for a three to four year period after I quit my youth pastor job I learned a healthy fear of leadership. I learned that while their is a huge amount of power, pride and ambition that you can have…it cannot sustain you. It is a powerful fuel but eventually you will run on empty and you will crash and burn in front of everyone.

It’s odd. The way this church plant is going I feel nothing like Superman. I don’t desire to run faster than a speeding bullet, leap a tall building is a single bound or to show that I am stronger than a locomotive to those around me. I am increasingly interested in people connecting with each other, growing in Christ and loving our city well. Do power, pride and ambition creep up? Always, but I have people around me that are close to me that aren’t into that stuff anyways.

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