Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lead, Follow and Get Out Of The Way

[Subversive Underground]

Lead, Follow and Get Out Of The Way
by Keith Giles

I've been challenged and inspired this week in regards to leadership.

Last week I shared a little about our house church and how we were entering a critical phase of our development where we need to find a way to grow and plant a new house church or we will die.

After I wrote that article, our house church had a meeting to further explore this issue and as a result we determined that what has been holding us back all this time: It is me.

As painful as it was for me to hear these words, the reality is that everyone needed to realize this truth, especially me, in order for our church to take the necessary steps forward.

How am I holding us back? By holding on to leadership too tightly and not giving away more of the responsibility to others.

In last week's [Subversive Underground] I shared about how our house church isn't all about me because I don't preach or lead a Bible Study and everyone shares in our teaching, including elementary-age children, and no one is attending because they read my books or my blog.

While all of this is true, what I failed to see was that even though people don't come to our house church because of me, our house church continues and survives because of me, and that was a gigantic blind spot.

When we asked our house church members if they would continue meeting this way should my family move away, nearly everyone said that they would not. This was painful to hear, I have to admit. My ego was bruised and I felt like a failure for not seeing this sooner, but at least now we have devised a plan for overcoming this problem of leadership.

Here's the plan: For the next two months I will be taking a vacation from The Mission. Instead of directing our meetings, facilitating our gathering, leading communion time, etc. I will be sitting in the back of the room as an observant guest while the rest of my brothers and sisters in Christ step forward and utilize their gifts for the common good.

So, I feel like God is teaching me a lot about true Leadership and what He expects from those who tend to His flock. What I've learned has humbled me and inspired me to become a leader who gives himself, and his leadership, away to others so that they can grow into the people God has made them to be.

Jesus had a lot to say about leadership. To his Apostles-in-training he said, "The Gentiles lord it over their people. Not so with you. The greatest among you will be the servant of all" (See Mark 10) and when He washed their feet He told them to wash one another's feet. He commanded them to love one another and to be known for their great love.

Jesus established a pattern of leadership in three simple steps: First Jesus modeled the way to serve, then he let the disciples serve while he observed, and then he sent them out on their own. In other words, first Jesus lead them, then he followed them, then he got out of their way. This is what I am only now learning to do.

I am learning to lead by laying down my life for my friends, and encouraging them to spread their wings and fly. My hope is that they will experience what it means to "Be the Church" even more.

Tomorrow I will be leading a session on house church for a local conference. Part of what we will discuss is leadership within organic church settings. I can't wait to share what God has taught me so far.


Saturday, Oct. 4th at Triangle Square
10am to 11:30am - F R E E
Visit OCHOUSECHURCH.COM for more info and to RSVP

Just this week I read a great post over at my friend Lionel's Blog about real Leadership. Here's the part that blessed me:

"If you desire to be in leadership to express your gift, share your vision, have a following, or because you think you are best fit for the job, or because you think you are the better teacher or even if you feel called (which I have issues with) you are in leadership for the wrong reason. However, if you love the people of God and those you plan on leading (remember apart from relationship this is impossible) then I believe your "vision" is in line with Christs."

He goes on to say:

"Our Pastor Calvin once asked us, "How many times does Jesus directly tell the disciples that he loves, them?" Or, in other words, how many times does Jesus have to reaffirm His love for the disciples? The answer is He doesn't. Jesus spends very little time talking about love and all of His time loving. The Disciples have very little trouble understanding this, but we do. If leadership is critical to the local gathering, and if love makes up all of the commandments, (then) these two must intersect or we have a problem."

You can read more of Lionel's article

Earlier this month another one of my favorite bloggers and friends, Brant Hansen, shared an inspiring list of contrasts between "Servant Leaders" and "Leader-Man" type leaders who take the CEO approach with their congregation.

Here's a brief look at Brant's list:

Servant Leader: Has something to say
LeaderMan: Wants a platform on which to say something

LeaderMan: Wants you to know he's a Leader
Servant Leader: You're not sure he knows he's a leader

LeaderMan: Loves the idea of the Gospel, and the idea of The Church
Servant Leader: Loves God and the actual individual people God brings across his path

LeaderMan: Helps you find where God is leading you in his organization
Servant Leader: Helps you find where God is leading you

LeaderMan: Gets together with you to talk about his vision
Servant Leader: Just gets together with you

LeaderMan: Wants the right people on the bus
Servant Leader: Wants to find the right bus for you, and sit next to you on it

LeaderMan: Invests time in you, if you are "key people"
Servant Leader: Wastes time with you

LeaderMan: Gives you things to do
Servant Leader: Gives you freedom

You can read the whole thing

[End Transmission]

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