I was in Memphis one snowy morning recently. A CRM teammate we affectionately call “Hound Doggie” and I were designing curriculum for the upcoming reFOCUS:Atlanta conference when his cell phone rang.

52 robbery “Hi Honey… OK… Are you OK? Are the kids OK? Don’t worry about a thing. Stay put and I’ll be there in ten minutes.” His voice was smooth, calm, steady.

I tried to decipher what had happened.

“Hey Kirkie, I’m gonna have to run home for a little bit. Our house was broken into; a lot of stuff is missing. Be back soon as I can.” Matt was as calm with me as he was with Jen.

In a few hours he’d filed a police report, met his insurance guy, arranged for his family to spend a few nights at the in-laws. And he was back—fully back—writing content for the Leading Change track, where we support pastors to be leaders of change by being leaders in change.

52 WestonsMatt is no ‘armchair theologian’. Like the rest of my CRM team, he’s not ‘squared off to bunt’.

This recession has been tough on churches. Giving is down—way down. Many have reduced staff. Attendance has declined and so has vitality and optimism. While there are many exceptions, this is a decades-long trend across the Church in America.

Congregations often blame to pastor. Yet, rarely is any pastor good enough to grow a church where there’s an embittered, conflicted congregation. And, few pastors are bad enough to run people off when a congregation is vibrant and loving, passionately pursuing Christ.

Still, many pastors live discouraged as if they are responsible for their churches’ decline. 52 discouragedQuestioning herself, she pulls back from leading boldly. Fearing the firestorm of criticism, he “softens” his sermons, muting his own voice—and the Word of God through him. Rather than take on that manipulative, gossiping leader she placates, hoping something will change.

Squared off to bunt.

A Barna survey found the #1 concern among Christians is a “lack of leadership”. And the #1 need of leaders is courage.

Courage comes from the French word “kor” which means “heart”.  I suggest that to live courageously is to live with your whole heart. Your heart engaged, invested, vulnerable, at risk.

52 GethsemaneCan you imagine Jesus, in his passion week, squared off to bunt?

Defending himself weakly before the Sanhedrin. Negotiating with Pilate. A few rote prayers in Gethsemane.

No great struggle.

No great sweat.

No great victory.

 

Coaching distinctions #52.doc