CHURCH LEADERSHIP: What motivates our decisions?
As I write this series I realize I will not be doing so in any chronological or orderly way. These just happen to be my thoughts for the day, generated from my life as it connects with this book.
The following, taken from the book on page 109 had a profound impact on my personal view of church leadership.
“But don’t we learn how to trust him through the body?”
“Actually, it works the other way around. Trust doesn’t flow out of body life, it flows into it!”
“But what if people don’t know how to trust?”
“Certainly we can help one another learn to grow in trust, but that growth is the prerequisite for sharing life together,not the fruit of it. Remember when you were back at City Center? How many decisions and policies were made because you were afraid – of people not coming, not growing, not giving money, or falling through the cracks and getting lost?”
“Probably ninety percent,” I responded. “Most of our discussions had to do with our concerns that someone would make a mistake – hurting themselves or embarrassing the congregation.”
“Then ninety percent of what you did was based on fear rather than trust. And you passed that same insecurity on to others as a way to keep them involved. You have yet to see what body life can be when people are growing to trust God, instead of living in fear.”
When I read this, I had to evaluate how we made decisions and what was the root motivation behind them. This means a real gut check.
If you are in leadership, Here’s the question:
When you plan and make decisions, why are you doing it and is any of your motivation rooted in building the institution or maintaining the system?
This is critical. If we are trying to maintain or build the church as an organization then we will manipulate people with guilt to get them to do things. This is not born out of trust and faith in God. Paul said anything not born of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). This makes people dependent on a church system, programs and leaders, instead of a dependency on the living Jesus. The result is a people who when crisis comes into their lives they expect the church to sustain them instead of Jesus. They think they are trusting Jesus until the system and organization disappoints them. Instead of thriving through crisis by the life of Jesus, they are let down by a dependency on man and are left with feelings of anger or guilt. This also creates a works or performance based religion by making people think that if thy do certain things they will mature or God will be pleased and bless them. And, If you’ve been in leadership long, you know the pain of being blamed for things that people expected from you that they will only find met in Jesus.
So, what do we do? What do we expect? Nothing? As the church, do we do nothing? What about leadership?
We have to see ourselves in the people business, not the church business. We are making disciples, not building churches. We are to be equipping people to know Jesus and encouraging them to live deeply in Him as we journey together so He can lead them. Our job as leaders is to serve. Leaders lead by serving, not leading. Too much of our own agenda can get in the way of leading. We can easily find ourselves thinking we are doing the will of God when actually we are feeding our own insecurities.
Do we as leaders trust God to build His church while we serve Him in equipping others to follow Jesus for themselves, be dependent on Him and respond to His leading? Will we let people be led by God in our congregations? Is this a scary thought?
My job is not to use people to fulfill my personal vision. It is to lead people to Jesus. Here is Paul’s leadership philosophy:
“For we preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:5
Leaders, who’s leading you and are you teaching people to be lead by Jesus or making them co-dependent on a substitute for Him?
Anything else is building our own kingdom.