My heart has been heavy lately for Christian leaders in this season. The pressures and burdens have multiplied astronomically. We have seen leaders leave the faith, leave their families, leave their sanity, and even leave the earth entirely. In this time, I see the enemy working overtime to kill, steal, and destroy and his primary weapon is always deception. What better way to make a leader ineffective than to lie to him/her about what is most important about leading! This morning the Holy Spirit put it on my heart to expose some of Satan's lies.
I asked my friends to help me out here, because leaders don't just lead one person; they often lead crowds of people. So I wanted that crowd of people to help me speak into our leaders. I requested on Facebook that people name one quality of a great leader. Below are the responses that I have gotten so far:
Listening to understand and not just reply
Willingness to do the same job as the people they are leading
Leading through encouragement instead of command
Building others up
Not craving the spotlight on themselves
Willing to do what they ask others to do if necessary
Being honest about everything
Letting others know how much they are appreciated
Knowing families names and asking about them from time to time
You know what responses that I DIDN'T get. Ones that the enemy of our souls wants us to believe that leadership is.
Faking it 'til you make it
Never admitting a fault or weakness
Defending instead of apologizing
Always knowing everything
Always having all the answers
Always being or at least looking put together
Never showing fear
Never taking a break
Always being available to everyone for everything
Not having any boundaries
Never offending anyone
Never letting the pressure get to you
Always being strong
Keeping everything hidden
Appearing confident even when you're not
Never having any problems or issues of your own
Never telling the people you are leading about said issues.
Never seeking counsel
Never letting someone else lead
Never letting someone else lead YOU
Leaders, go back and read Paul's letters to the churches...letters displayed for the whole world now to see. Read how vulnerable Paul was with his following.
"When I came to you, brothers, announcing the testimony of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and power, so that your faith might not be based on men's wisdom, but on God's power." 1 Corin 2:1-5
Has the enemy got you relying on your own brilliance of speech or wisdom? Has he distracted you away from the only point...Jesus and Him crucified? Has he tricked you into believing that you can't show your weakness, your fear, or your trembling? Have you lost God's power in favor of your own? Are you greater than Paul?
Paul didn't hide stuff. Rather, he used his own weaknesses and failures to teach others. We read his testimony more than once in the New Testament...you know, the one where he persecuted the church and had to be knocked off his high horse. We see him admit to problems and struggles and frustrations. We even see him get into fights with other believers. It's all written for our example, because normal, average, every day believers need to know how to overcome. We need to know that pain and suffering are part of the deal and how to walk through them. We need to know that problems and trials are normal and be taught how to sit in the uncomfortable and wait for God. We don't just need our leaders TELLING us how to do these things. We need them to SHOW us.
You don't have to hide, and if you do, you just might not be making the difference in people that you desperately desire to make. If the people following you require you to hide...if they pressure you to be perfect...if they expect you to be God to them...you're doing it wrong. This will exhaust you, shame you, and eventually make you hopeless.
I just came to tell you this morning that you may be trying to bear burdens that you were never called to bear. The enemy is LYING to you. Can you see his game here? You aren't God and you were never called to be. Rather, you are called to be honest. You are called to be a conduit for God to be God. You are called to believe Him and trust Him enough to know that He will show up with His Spirit and make Himself known to His people.
I am a nobody asking all the somebodies to go before the Lord TODAY and lay those burdens DOWN. Let Almighty God uncover the lies that the enemy has been feeding you for so long that they seem like truth. Return to the heart of leadership. We need our leaders to show us examples of humility, vulnerability, and the grace of God. When there are more leaders like this, there will be more Christians like this.
We need your honesty, leaders...now, more than ever.