by Rob Campbell
In July 1994, Chuck Swindoll spoke at the Promise Keepers Leadership Conference in Boulder, Colorado. As he stepped to the podium, he looked intently from left to right at the thousands who had gathered for this event. I was one of those in attendance, seated in the very front row next to Coach McCartney. Then he spoke, “Pastors, lighten up…lighten up!” I loved his admonishment for I have always believed that pastors are too tight, serious, posturing themselves to be more important than they really are. The place filled with laughter and Chuck continued. This masterful communicator cited the dirty dozen obstacles to leadership. They are as follows: Authoritarianism, Exclusiveness, Greed, Hypocrisy, Sensuality, Prejudice, Pride, Rationalization, Manipulation, Secrecy, Unaccountability, and Traditionalism. As he rattled off this deplorable, dirty dozen list, conviction fell on me. I sensed God saying to me, “Rob, leadership is a big deal. Continually clothe yourself in me.”
Might I share a few thoughts on leadership? You are so kind!
First, a leader sees the way (vision). Second, fellow team members and followers are essential for the journey (mission). Finally, leaders must be passionate about people for relationships are the key to any successful quest (passion). Ecclesiastes 4:12 states, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Vision (seeing), mission (doing), and passion (feeling) are commendable and necessary traits for an effective leader. Each strand is essential as you serve others. For example, if you lack mission and passion, then chances are strong you will jump from project to project. Further, if you have strong strands of passion and mission but lack vision, then you will give yourself to too small a task. Finally, if you lack passion but have immense vision and mission strands, then you will not have the heart to inspire others and the vision will become dry and laborious.
Spiritual leadership is a high calling and can be filled with great joy and/or immense pain. A great deal is expected from key leaders. These expectations can become burdensome as a pastor tries to become all things to all people. Can you guess which group is “the single most occupationally frustrated professionals in America?” That’s right– you nailed it! The answer is pastors. Pastors are in need of help and help is available as they intentionally and deliberately empower others for ministry. Pastors must consistently be on the lookout for emerging leaders. Author Mike Regele writes, “This means you may get less done in the present, but you will actually accomplish far more in the future by pouring your life into the people who can carry on those things that are nearest and dearest to your heart.”