Leadership in a Culture of Cowardice (part eight)

What does it take to be a courageous leader, particularly in a culture that has been growing more cowardly, childish, self-absorbed, and immature?

Is it possible to live and lead in our Christian context so that spiritual and emotional maturity emerges?

If it is, you, as pastor, are key.

Let’s review for just a moment. We’ve covered two essentials to lead effectively in a culture of cowardice that I say has become characteristic of the Church in North America today.

One: Courageous leadership is not about skill, technique, or knowledge.  It is, most of all, about the presence of the leader as he or she moves through life.

Two: Take full responsibility for your own emotional being and destiny.

And today, we move from you to your organization, church, system, business, or family:

Three: Promote healthy differentiation within the church or system you lead.

Differentiation means to take full responsibility for your own being and destiny. Stand in relationship with your congregants as if they were responsible for their own well-being, which, before God, of course, they are.

Remember how Jesus responded when his disciples were giving themselves to panic.

Did he take responsibility for their emotions?

Their sense of wellbeing?

Their comfort or discomfort?

Ever??

22 stormRemember the storm at sea. In Mt 14:25-31, the disciples are terrified both by the storm and what they thought to be a “ghost” walking on the water. Still out of the boat, Jesus says: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Then, as Peter goes down into the water, Jesus grabs him and asks: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I imagine most pastors might exclaim something like: “Hey, great job Pete!! I am SO VERY PROUD OF YOU!! Look how many steps you took!! Hey fellas, let’s hear it for Peter!!”

Jesus’ response indicates that he saw this incident as character-development training for challenges that Peter and the others were likely to confront in the future.

When members of your church come up against frightening challenges, what do you think you’re doing with and for them?

Comfort?

Encouragement?

Appeasement?

Or, are you developing them into mature, godly, followers of Christ??

To develop your people to maturity—rather than laboring to remove the causes of their anxiety—will challenge you to grow up as well, pastor. Over and over again, you’ll get to abandon yourself to God…

Exactly what Jesus equipped the disciples to do.