Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Leading with a limp

I sometimes cite the fact that this blog only has three readers which I think is broadly true. The other day, one of my three, my dear friend Peter in Canada, said that one of the books I had recommended on the blog was his most dog-eared and read of all those currently on his desk. (Driscoll's 'Reformissionary Rev' if you are interested).

This got me thinking. I, like many a church leader, often find myself more interested in quantity than quality. I like to see bums on seats even when I know very few of them are disciples. It makes me feel like I am doing a good job and makes me appear marginally less insecure. Hence, I suppose the blog illustration. I could have a blog with ten thousand readers who found the content meaningless or three readers, of whom one reads a book they find helpful and encouraging. Which sort of blog-indeed which sort of church- would I rather have? I fear the former but am fighting it.

'Leading with a limp' may I hope be the next dog-eared book on Peter's desk. Mine is written over, underlined, bent and scribbled on. It has also taken me some while to get through it. It is a book to be chewed, prayed through and pondered. 

So many leaders in the church have inner world's that are a disaster. They are limpers inwardly, desperately and often painfully but they dare not show it. The consequence is pain, disfunction and, at its worse, the abuse of those around them. Often and so ironically those who suffer most are those for whom they claim to have the most love. 

One of many observations in the book is the need for brokenness in leaders. To be broken, says Allender, embraces four realities (Page 71-72):

1. I am never sufficiently good, wise or gifted to make things work
2. My failures will harm others, the process and myself no matter how hard I try to avoid failure.
3, The greatest harm I can do is to try to limit the damage I cause by not participating, by quitting or by pushing for control. 
4. Calling out for help from God and from others is the deepest confession of humility

Years ago I was living in Moscow and with no idea any church would ever been foolish enough to employ me and when I even hinted that I might one day my Vicar at the time told me I was not suitable material. He was probably right.  My friend Kaarina, a missionary in Armenia said to me one evening as I was reflecting on this 'David, you must first be broken'. I had little idea what she meant at the time but now I understand it a little better. I still feel myself to be unsuitable material.

This is a great book and worthy of your time. I feel changed, challenged and humbled having taken the time to read it. The last section (knowing how most read books you may never get to it) but it's worth getting to the chapter on 'Prophets, Priests and Kings'. It is amazingly insightful. 

I hope and pray this may bless you. 

No comments: