Refusing to Lead

What are your thoughts on refusing to lead? Peter Rollins make some good points in his video. I think the heart of wisdom and learning to hear the voice of God helps us to know when we should counsel, push back, comfort, sit in silence etc when talking to others.

After I created this post I just got an email from our director with the following from Dave Browning along the same subject.

A pastor was telling me about a new group that was forming in his Worship Center. The group was going to be led by Chris (not his real name), who is a former pot-smoker. Some of those coming to the group are going to be people from his old pot circle. The pastor said to me, “There’s a part of me that wants to be at these group meetings.” He was concerned that he these young adults might slip into their old behaviors if he wasn’t present. I told him that I understood his concern but that he should not give into the temptation to baby sit.

Carefully consider the implications to your long-term ministry if you “need to be there” to keep bad things from happening:

First, if you need to be there, you are not displaying a very high level of trust in God’s spirit. Before Jesus left earth he told us that he would send his spirit “to be with us forever” and “to guide us into all truth.” We need to take God up on his promise. There needs to only be one Holy Spirit. You are not it.

Second, if you need to be there, you are not displaying a very high level of trust in your people. You are saying, “I can’t trust you to be outside my sight.” Do you want them to lead from inner integrity, or outward compulsion?

Third, if you need to be there, after awhile your volunteer leader will realize that he doesn’t need to be there. This is the same challenge foreign missionaries face. When the chips are down, the natives all look at the “white face” in the room. As a pastor your authority and influence will eclipse that of the volunteer. Get out of his way so he can execute his ministry.

Fourth, if you need to be there, you are limiting the scope of your ministry to the places where and times when you can be there. Do you really want to do that? I didn’t think so. Most churches in America or less than 75 people, and one of the reasons is that is the number of people that a person can pastor directly. Greater effectiveness is found when a pastor spends more time working on the ministry than in the ministry.

This does not mean that this pastor should not spend time with Chris, mentoring him and supporting him in his ministry. In fact, I would say that there is not a more important meeting on that pastor’s calendar. Equipping Chris to do the work of the ministry is precisely what God has called that pastor to do. Just be careful to not cross the line into co-dependency. As a father in the faith you have to let your children go. You have to trust God to keep them from falling.

When you think about it, what was really impressive about the serial-planting ministries of the Apostle Paul or John Wesley is not how may places they went, but how many places they left.

Dave Browning

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Comments

Good stuff Buddy. I just read the email Mark sent out… we had quite the long discussion about this very topic last night. I fully believe in empowerment… not only to build and grow our students, but to give them the tools and experience they need to grow into mature Christian leaders…that “Refuse to Lead”. Awesome stuff man, thanks.

~Jim

Hi Jim, Looking forward to seeing your tomorrow in Belgium and hear your thoughts in person. -Buddy

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