Leadership is hell. If you sign up to be a leader, you are signing up for war. Sometimes your allies turn out to be your enemies. People abandon you over the most mundane offenses. Your vision that you thought was anointed by God turns out to be demonically inspired, at least that’s what your critics say. In leadership, the terrain constantly shifts under your feet like a California tremor and nothing comes easy.
Leadership more often than we want to admit feels a lot more like hand-to-hand combat than a Willow Creek seminar. Leadership has its moments of ecstasy. There are times of glory where you know you have heard from the Lord and you are part of leading a great work. Every once in a while we experience those moments of love, devotion, and mutual passion that causes the leader to feel deeply that he is making a difference in the world.
Joy. Betrayal. Victory. Loss. Confusion. Clarity. All describe leadership. Leadership is the most difficult and the most fulfilling job one can experience. In all my misgivings, mistakes, and misjudgments, I have been used as a leader of God’s people for the past thirty years. I have started campus ministries in Japan, a Bible Institute in California, and a couple of churches in Colorado. Some have asked me why would I want to plant another church. My answer probably should be, “because I haven’t been tortured enough yet.” But, truth be told, I’m called by God. The leadership calling is not for the comfortable, the faint of heart, or the easily offended.
So what’s the point of human leadership? Why couldn’t God just choose angels to do his bidding? After all, they are his flames of fire. Are they not commissioned by him to communicate to us his mission on the earth? They do great showing up in the desert, in the city, and with shepherds in fields. Some of them are even good singers. So why bother us with leadership? Hey, I’ll go anywhere, do anything, just don’t make me lead.
But maybe, just maybe, it’s in leadership that we learn the most about ourselves. Could it be that in leadership we come face-to-face with our pride, our selfishness, and our true heart. Might it be that the extremities of ourselves—our good heart and our bad, are revealed most often in leading.
On the Road,