I love this idea, thousands of seemingly independent strides, intertwined together, transporting you 29,029 feet above sea level to a view that most of us will never have in person.
Over the past few months, as I've reflected on all of the simple concepts and decisions that go into leading well I've wondered about the men and women who have stood atop the highest peak on Earth. What drove them upwards through the cold? What yearning was strong enough to cast aside comfort and safety? What kept them from giving up under the sheer enormity of the effort needed to persevere in the face of such a daunting task?
You see, I am desperate to lead well. To make the right choices, to overcome adversity, and to care exceeding well for those around me, yet the staggering number of principles, methods, and expectations that flood my mind when I consider what it means to be a great leader are almost enough to cause me to pack it all up and head homeright up until I remember what hangs in the balance for leaders like you and me, leaders who love the church.
HOW YOU AND I LEAD PEOPLE CAN AFFECT THEIR FAITH.
I'm pretty sure that every one of us have friends or family who have literally left the faith because of poor leadership in the Church. Not because they disagree with the Bible, or they don't like Jesus, or they really despise worship musicbut because a pastor or staff member handled something poorly. I tell our team all the time, "You can be right, but approach something wrong, and then you are no longer right."
As followers of Jesus, we have chosen a standard of behavior that NEVER allows us to mistreat people—-ever. Yet sometimes the worst offenders are leaders within the Church. Brothers and Sisters, this cannot be.
The same standard exists for leaders who love the Church and work in industries outside of it. Christ followers represent Jesus to the world in everything we do. If we choose to lead poorly at work because it's "business," then I believe we are misrepresenting a Savior who would choose people first. I'm not saying we don't have very difficult decisions to make that involve people, but choosing poor ethics and approaches that involve people cannot be our operating system.
So how do you and I even being to climb this mountain of trying to lead in a way that reflects Jesus to those in our families, on our teams, and in the world around us?
ONE STEP AT A TIME
Here's a simple starting point. Ask people closest to you how your leadership affects them. If you don't have anyone you can ask, then that's where you need to start. You have to give a couple people the freedom to be brutally honest with you. You will always lead poorly if you are on an island with no feedback.
If the people around you feel like they watch you lead well with this in mind, then keep doing what you are doing. No one is immune to messing up. No one.
Let's make those "mess ups," the exception and not a normal part of your leadership. Again, it will not happen unless you've invited 2-3 people into your circle to help with this.
Next step, once you have people who can speak freely (with grace of course) to you, then you have to embrace the fact that you will hear something you don't like or agree with. I plead with you to never just dismiss it. Ask the question, "If it looks like I did that, or come across like that, is there truth in the way my actions were perceived."
Perception is reality when you are dealing with people. That is why it is impossible to lead well without a circle of men and women around you allowed to speak into how you are doing.
What would it look like if every pastor had a circle of leaders allowed to give open and honest feedback? What if the Church could be the best led organization on the planet? What if the leadership of the church wasn't keeping people from Jesus?
WHO CAN YOU INVITE INTO YOUR CIRCLE TO GIVE YOU HONEST FEEDBACK?
Leaders. Let's start here. Let's start with ourselves and do everything in our power to start leading well daily and watch God use us like never before.
I believe people's faith can be completely restored, and changed for the better, with leaders who lead well. It's the hardest thing in the world, but the most rewarding and important calling we can have.