Monday, February 13, 2012

Leadership is hard

If anyone tells you that leadership is not difficult you can be certain that person is not a leader.  He or she might hold a leadership title, but that person is not exercising leadership.  Leaders are often misunderstood and their motives questioned.  Leaders often have to make the tough decisions that no one else wants to make and that they would prefer to not make.  They have to be willing to step out into the unknown and risk their reputation and even their position to lead their organization to a higher level.  Many of the decisions they make have to be made without having as much information as the leader might prefer.  Sometimes neither option in a decision is the one that a leader would prefer, but knowing that a decision has to be made the leader takes a deep breath and makes the call.  Leaders know that their decisions not only impact themselves but their organization, and even more importantly, every person and their families that work for that organization or are involved in some way with it.  At times, leadership can be very lonely because although the leader can and should seek input from a number of sources, there are times when he or she alone has to make the final decision.  No one knows how many sleepless nights it might take before the hardest decisions are finally made except the leader and his or her family.  Not only is leadership often hard for the leader, but it is also hard at times for the leader's family.  They alone see the struggle and pain the leader goes through and how it impacts his or her life.  Whether you lead a large company, a large church, or a small, bivocational church if you are providing leadership to your organization there will be times when it is hard.

The only thing harder than leadership is the lack of leadership.  Without leadership, organizations flounder around without any sense of direction or purpose.  Eventually, such organizations decline and finally crash.  Lacking leadership, organizations and people operate in a rut with little forward movement.  The person in the leadership position who does not provide leadership wastes his or her gifts and calling as well as the trust that was been given by the organization.  Opportunities are squandered by organizations that lack leadership.  Much more painful than leadership is the lack of leadership.

If you are a pastor or lay leader in your church, unless it is dysfunctional and unhealthy, your congregation is looking to you for leadership.  They want someone who has caught God's vision for what they can become and do and they expect you to lead them in that direction.  They want someone willing to take risks to advance the Kingdom of God, and many of the people in your congregation are wanting you to challenge them to greater responsibilities than they've ever accepted.  Yes, some will resist such leadership, and a few of them will make your life miserable.  However, leaders do not allow such people to deter them from where they know God is leading them.  It is far better to have a handful of people trying to make your life miserable than for you to feel miserable yourself knowing that God has something far better for you and your congregation than you're experiencing.

Friend, if you have been called to lead, then lead.  Yes, it will be hard at times, but failing to lead will be much harder in the long run.

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