Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Understanding leadership

"When you're no longer trying NOT to become something, you will be on the road to TRUE freedom."

Darin Hufford said this during his podcast, “A Whole Other Animal.” I think we can so easily fall into the trap of wanting to be free, that we even throw out those things that are legitimate. For example, he and Aimee Dassele discussed leadership. Once we leave the institutional world with its over emphasis on leadership, we tend to want to throw out the whole concept and do away with leaders. Well, the book of Judges in the Bible is filled with examples of what happens when there are no leaders. As the author of that book of the Bible said, “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes” and the result was chaos and lawlessness.

Because leadership has been misused in the institutional church, it’s become a dirty word for those who have moved away from the institutional forms of church. This is understandable, however, the truth is that God has established leaders in the church but, as was stated in the podcast, leadership is meant to be organic. Leaders were never meant to be the ones who lord it over the regular members because they’ve gone to seminary or have been ordained. In the church, I believe the purpose of leaders is to draw out the life of God that has been deposited in the hearts of those they lead. I was glad to hear Darin admit that he’s a leader because I believe he fits this picture.

When the early church appointed leaders, I believe they were simply recognizing those among them who were already functioning as leaders. Leadership isn’t a job with a job description. It’s a function and leaders are leaders even when they don’t have a job title. Leaders are easily recognized because … they lead! It’s a natural function of who they are and, in a casual setting, they may not even know they’re leading yet people are being influenced.

My husband, who is a leader, has served on several juries and each time, the other jury members have recognized his leadership abilities and he’s always been chosen to be the foreman of the jury. I’ve only been on one jury but, when it came time to pick our foreman, we knew exactly who to pick. He hadn’t done anything spectacular to attract attention to himself but, through the course of normal conversation, his leadership abilities were obvious.

Leadership was never meant to be static as it is in institutional groups. In any group, it should change from person to person depending on the circumstances and the needs of the group at that time. Any time there’s a group, leadership will naturally evolve. I think the TV program “Lost” is a good example of that. When the flight crew was killed in the crash, leadership arose among the passengers and it would often change depending on the need at the time. In my family, leadership often changes too. There are some areas of life where I’m totally clueless and I depend on my husband to make the decisions for us but there are other areas that are mine to decide and he pretty much goes along with my decision.

Recently, my husband and I had a fascinating conversation about leadership and he explained to me what makes a leader a leader. As he explained it, a leader is a visionary who inspires others with his vision. Darin Hufford in my opinion definitely is a visionary. He had a vision for the Free Believers Network long before it came to pass and he held onto it even when it looked like it would never become a reality. Another good example of a visionary is William Wallace in the movie “Braveheart.” He had a vision of freedom for his people and he so inspired his fellow tribesmen with that vision that they were willing to go to war against England, a super power of that day. His vision was so powerful that even his death couldn’t keep it from coming to pass and another leader arose who took that vision and led the people to freedom.

My husband also explained that, although a leader may have a vision, they usually lack the skills needed to bring that vision to pass so even the most compelling vision will die if there’s no one to take it beyond the visionary stage. Therefore, managers are needed. Managers have the ability and skills needed to take a leader’s vision, administrate it and bring it to pass. Leaders and managers are meant to function hand in hand, however, insecure leaders will often refuse to give authority to managers thereby effectively sabotaging and destroying their own vision.

My husband’s insight into the heart of a leader gave me another piece of the puzzle which helped me to understand how God has uniquely created me. I’ve known for some time now that I have administrative abilities. The confusion for me was due to the fact that leadership books tend to lump everything together and label it all leadership. However, by separating the managerial aspects from the visionary aspects of leadership, the role of leadership became more clear to me and I understood my place in the big picture.

In the institutional church, leadership training has become a big issue and is widely promoted. The result being that everyone wants to be a leader. While it’s true that we all have a unique set of gifts that will benefit the other members of the church, few are gifted as leaders or even managers for that matter. The truth is neither leaders nor managers are more important in the church, however, both are needed if the church is to move forward. We need leaders who are functioning as leaders and managers who are functioning as managers.

A true leader inspires hope where there is no hope and, despite all odds, the impossible becomes possible and the unattainable becomes attainable. In the Bible, it’s said that without a vision, the people perish. Although there seems to be a lack of leadership in the church as well as in the world, in my opinion, we desperately need the inspiration that only a leader can bring. So, as we learn to live free in Christ, let’s also recognize those leaders among us and allow them to inspire us with the vision that God has planted in their hearts.

5 comments:

Erkki said...

Hi Aida,

Thank you very much for this post. I thought it was excellent and it comes at a great time as I'm currently considering my own calling. I appreciate the time you take to help lift up, encourage, and liberate. Please keep it up!

My Best,

Erkki

Aida said...

Erkki, thank you for your encouragement. I’m glad what I wrote was helpful and I appreciate you taking the time to write and share your thoughts with me.

Rich said...

Aida,

I enjoyed your thoughts immensely, thank you.
You said; "So, as we learn to live free in Christ, let’s also recognize those leaders among us and allow them to inspire us with the vision that God has planted in their hearts."

I love the growing knowing that the "leader, Christ" is building, establishing His church.

Just as He opened the eyes of our brother Paul showing him the blue prints (as he did with Moses using then, types and shadows of better things to come) of His church, he invites us all to enter and live, move, and discover our very being, and out of that living breathing reality much like when God told Ezekiel to speak to the pile of bones in the valley that suddenly began to be formed into a living entity, only in a far greater way will we see the majesty of His church coming together.

I find it interesting to say the least looking at this scripture, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" in light of what is now our very birth-right, to live in the very Glory we have received in our adoption.

So much "stuff" being done in the name of Christ is imo but changing things outwardly, but experiencing, coming into contact with our living glorious Hope Christ Jesus, people, sons and daughters are and continue to BE transformed, from glory, to glory which makes real not so much "leadership" but His Lordship over us all.

Knowing the truth of whose and who we are, frees us in simply allowing Him to do as He wills in and through each of us as living expressions of His leadership!

Rich said...

I read this, this morning (from Oz Chambers) and somehow, I see it fitting into this thing of "leadership" so well.

"Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you." We are not taken up into conscious agreement with God's purpose, we are taken up into God's purpose without any consciousness at all. We have no conception of what God is aiming at, and as we go on it gets more and more vague. God's aim looks like missing the mark because we are too short sighted to see what He is aiming at. At the beginning of the Christian life we have our own ideas as to what God's purpose is - 'I am meant to go here or there,' 'God has called me to do this special work'; and we go and do the thing, and still the big compelling of God remains. The work we do is of no account, it is so much scaffolding compared with the big compelling of God. "He took unto Him the twelve," He takes us all the time. There is more than we have got at as yet.

http://www.heartlight.org/cgi-shl/my_utmost/utm.cgi?0803

Aida said...

Great thoughts, Rich. I like your emphasis on our being transformed from the inside out. Christ is our head and all leadership flows from him. Earthly leaders are responsible for teaching us how to live as who we are and their job is to train us to follow the Christ that’s in us. Instead, many of them have tried to usurped the leadership that is Christ’s alone.

I’ve learned to stop looking for God’s purpose in my life and why I’m doing something. As Oswald Chambers said, we should just flow in God’s purpose without even realizing that we are. I think we get too easily distracted trying to figure out what he’s doing in a particular situation when we should just be living every day enjoying his life in us. Instead of getting locked into doing a specific work for God, we should be free to flow with whatever he happens to be doing at the moment. That’s the way he’s called us to live, like the wind that blows wherever it chooses.