Sunday, August 23, 2009

"I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet..."

But am I a leader?

I will never forget that day. I sat on my bedroom floor full of questions and concerns. A few days earlier I had heard a world class leader speak about leadership. I was intimidated, fearful, and challenged.

At that point in my life, I had been a pastor for a number of years. But was I a leader? The question, I felt, was critical as I tried to make good choices for my future.

You see, small churches often have pastors who do a large variety of tasks. They are like chaplains, counselors, teachers, preachers, servants, intercessors, evangelists and administrators rolled into one. Many of them even turn out the lights and lock the doors after every church meeting. The vast majority of the churches in this country are still small enough that this model of the "general practitioner" pastor is the one many people think of every time they see a clergyperson. And what would we do without them?

Something happens, though, as a church starts to grow. They need to add other staff who pick up many of the specialized areas of work. They also have to recruit and train volunteers to a more acute serving focus. All of this requires some management skills, but -- ultimately -- the need of skilled leadership keeps increasing. That's the concern that drove me to my bedroom floor that day.

My position on the floor shouldn't be given some spiritual interpretation. I was on the floor because it was comfortable. I could sit, lay with a book in front of me and move around as needed. (Besides, I live in the desert and the floor is often cooler!)

"Am I a leader?" I asked (both myself and God). It was time to be brutally honest with the answers. An interesting verse in Romans says, "Leaders should lead." The context of the passage is that God gives gifts to the church and we should use the ones God gives us as individuals. Did I have that gift of leadership? Or was I deceiving myself and negatively impacting the work of our local church? Possibly, it was time to find another place to serve.

I am nearly two decades from that day. I remember assessing my life up until then. I recalled that, from childhood, I had often led in various settings. I led at church, at school and among friends. I realized that I had always been comfortable leading. In fact, I often wanted to lead as I watched others hesitate.

I really haven't ever been a puppet. Or a pauper, a pirate or a poet. But I came to the conclusion that God designed me to lead.

I've been working to get better at it ever since.

What did God design you to do?

3 comments:

CHEWBARKA said...

Good question. ????
But YOU do do a good job of what God gave you to do. How did you "discover" what it was?

Rachel Cotterill said...

I often feel that my greatest strength is in being adaptable & flexible... that I'm good at doing "what needs to be done at the time" rather than any one particular thing. Leadership is a good example, actually - if no-one is leading, I'll take it up, but if someone else is doing a good job then that's great & I can do something else.

Sam said...

Chewie, it's very possible that you have gifts and abilities that even you haven't uncovered. I suggest you check our our 301 Class to take a look at it.

Rachel C, among other things, you are an encourager. Also, I work with a few people whose greatest strength is their ability to help. The step in wherever needed. They are awesome to work with!