Posts tagged leadership
This is the 50th blog entry on distinctions I often make in coaching. For close to a decade, it’s been my privilege to coach pastors, primarily. Invariably, our conversations center on leadership. And, because of the inseparable link between the two: on character.
Pastors who lead well do so because of who they are.
Who you are—especially in the midst of crisis and difficulty—is a product of the way you’ve trained yourself all your life long. In times of calm and storm, you are training yourself for the challenges you can’t yet see. Those that await in the future.
Christian Leaders who’ve been given great responsibility have developed the capacity to rely on God in their own crises, and to stand with others in theirs. The more faithful they are, the greater the tests.
A pastor marveled at the intense off-season regimen of an NFL player who trains at his gym. “Do you need all that muscle development to play your position in football?” he asked in disbelief. “No. I need it to survive the physical beating I take every Sunday.” Every day, he strengthens muscle fibers in anticipation of the opposition his body will encounter.
In Squared Off to Bunt, I invite you—as I do my coaching clients—to consider the posture of your life.
Or, are you crouched to bunt?
- How clear are you about where God has you leading your congregation?
- How compelling is the vision you’re calling your people to?
- How great is the sacrifice you challenge your members to, as apprentices of Jesus?
- How bold is your trust in Christ for the miraculous in your ministry?
- How desperately do you cry out for the power of God’s Kingdom to break in on your city?
- How diligently are you training yourself to recognize the voice of God, then unflinchingly obey?
Should the political and cultural opposition to Biblical Christianity continue to strengthen, we may find ourselves ministering in a far more challenging climate.
In Lystra, as Paul is preaching Christ a mob stones him, drags his body outside the city, and leaves him for dead. Believers gather around, he rises up, and goes right back into Lystra.
Paul is “…strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.” [Acts 14:22]
Who lives like that?
Someone who’s not postured to bunt.
Coaching distinctions #50.doc
You have been called.
Not just to be good. And not to be religious.
To be the ‘you’ God intended. To have the impact for which Christ has given you life.
You’re destined. Which is to say, there’s a destination for you. A unique, God-honoring difference that you’re the ideal person to provide for the world.
You get to pursue it—with your whole being—not knowing exactly where it is. As you give yourself in the pursuit of it, God makes that destiny more clear and certain.
And, all along the way, God is working to refine your character.
In I and Thou Martin Buber writes that one must proceed toward that destiny: “with his whole being… He must sacrifice his little will, which is unfree and ruled by things and drives, to his great will that moves away from being determined to find destiny. The free man has only one thing: always only his resolve to proceed toward his destiny.”
See, life conspires with your ‘little will’ to determine you, to define you, to limit you, to shackle you to a meaningless life.
A meaningless life?
It’s a life driven by the capricious desires of the ‘little will’.
I want to vacation in Spain.
I want that boat.
I want botox for my face.
I want to make partner.
I want those amazing shoes.
I want to see her pay.
I want to get rid of the boat!
As you’re satisfying these whims, another half dozen arise, and you’re off in pursuit of them. What you’ll notice about the meaningless life is that you are its focus.
All the while, those around you are hurting. Suffering. Isolated. Heartbroken. Lost.
Do you notice?
At the dawn of 1865 more than four million Americans were held captive by slavery. If the movie Lincoln is an accurate portrayal, the President—probably hundreds of times—sacrificed his ‘little will’ to achieve that for which he was destined.
His ‘little will’ no doubt longed to be free of the struggle to amend the Constitution, to mourn the death of his son, to bring relief to his disconsolate wife, and to end the awful bloodshed for which he was blamed. When his cause faced its most strident opposition, when resisted by those in his own cabinet, when his allies waivered in their commitment, and when his body shuddered under the strain, Lincoln’s ‘little will’ would have cried out for relief.
Trusting God to provide what Lincoln could not, he and his resolve moved in pursuit of that destiny with his whole being.
You and I get to do this, too.
Coaching distinctions #43.doc