Where you lead . . . I don’t want to go!

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Admitting you are not a leader and have no aspirations to become a leader in the world of Christianity is like admitting you hog two parking spaces at the grocery store on senior citizen discount day . . . and you don’t care if they ARE handicap spaces. Apparently it’s considered bad mojo to follow rather than lead in church culture. But the attitude that every Christian should aspire to leadership belies one obvious flaw: Who will follow if everyone thinks they are a leader?

In my almost three score years on the planet, I’ve come to the profound conclusion that I am not a leader. Sure, I can manage people. A manager recruits people, writes schedules, assigns projects and keeps workers on task through a variety of practical mechanisms (think progressive discipline . . . or my favorite management technique of stomping your foot and throwing a tantrum when subordinates ignore you). A leader, on the other hand, must inspire people to make personal sacrifices and go above and beyond expectations. Few people possess the magic formula required for leadership (probably because personality is a large portion of the formula). If the leadership formula could be bottled and sold, it would fetch millions. Unfortunately, the world is full of people who think they are leaders, but they do not possess the complete formula. Faux leaders encounter much frustration because people do not cooperate under their leadership. This can lead to dissatisfaction, bitterness, anger and hurts felt by all parties involved.

You see, people with the gift of leadership possess the almost superhuman ability to demand high productivity from subordinates while at the same time caring deeply about their subordinates. In other words, people with innate leadership skills have the backs of their staff. They offer praise and reward abundantly, and criticize sparingly . . . and even then in a constructive way.

From my humble position as an armchair observer, quite a few people occupy leadership roles because they believe they don’t have it in their DNA to take orders from others. Newsflash: Just because a person loathes following the orders of other people does not necessarily mean they have the juice required for leadership. The corporate landscape is littered with the wreckage of failed businesses and ministries run into the ground by people who wanted to be the boss, but lacked the leadership mojo to make it work.

Here’s the thing: It’s okay to be something other than a leader. There are plenty of alternative roles in the church and in your community that are equally fulfilling, as long as we correctly identify our skills and gifts. The church, and American culture in general, idolizes leadership to the point of pathosis. Leaders, as much as we admire them, can’t do diddly squat without support from the rest of us using our God-given gifts. Don’t fear the un-leader within you.


Posted on October 24, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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