Monday, February 8, 2010

leadership, grace and entitlement

The world and the church continually stand in need of leaders that exhibit the life-giving qualities of Jesus. Here are some things I wanted to share with our community of leaders recently, in preparing for our departure from Oasis Madrid, the church we've been working for these past four years.

Remind each other that Oasis should be a church where learning to be “the loved one” is enough. You don’t need to do more; you have nothing to lose because you’ve already lost it all, including your marbles.

Yes, let this really be a place where the primary message of its leaders is: “It is enough for you to be ‘the loved one’. You don’t need to do more or be more to please God and you don’t need to do more to please me, either. There is only enticing invitation. There is only grace because grace is enough.”

This “others- focused” kind of leadership gladdens complaining spirits. It does this because 1) it spreads grace around, and 2) it comes from a leader that remembers we are entitled to nothing, including positions of leadership. This kind of leader remembers that leadership is a gift, it is a privilege. It is not something that is ours by right (or because we somehow earn it because of our own supposed-wonderfulness or particular giftedness).

It’s about real servant-hood. On the note of servant-hood: don’t fear failure; rather, fear success. I say this because many times our own success puts our soul in danger, it becomes occasion for pride, self-centeredness and self-importance. So, be willing to do whatever it takes to address that danger (to even take yourself--or another--out of “ministry” for the sake of soul-care). This is only possible as we immerse ourselves in grace and remember that we are entitled to nothing. And the only thing that matters is that you stand before God with hands open, confessing that you are in need.

So I hope this will continue to be a church where people hold their leadership positions with open hands, where they’re willing to contribute in some way for a season and then they’re willing to empower others to carry on and take over, never even thinking whether or not they will “get the credit” for “what a wonderful thing” they did.

When we’re entrusted leadership, and we view it as grace, we steward it with care. We give it our all. We’re willing to sacrifice because we’re also not entitled to ease and comfort. Jesus didn’t consider himself entitled to ease and comfort and what student is greater than their Master?

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