The joy and challenge of Christian leadership

Thoughts from Dan Allender

I have recently been reading a book by Dan and have found some of what he says very helpful indeed.


The joy of leadership

The bottom line is simple: it is in extremity that you meet not only yourself but, more important, the God who has written your life. It is through leading that I’ve known the greatest need for a deep, personal, and abiding relationship with Jesus. I wouldn’t trade that for all the money, fame, glory, and honour in this life. I suspect the same is true for you.


Leading is very likely the most costly thing you will ever do. And the chances are very good that it will never bring you riches or fame or praise in exchange for your great sacrifices. But if you want to love God and others, and if you long to live your life now for the sake of eternity, then there is nothing better than being a leader.


The challenge of leadership

To the degree you face and name and deal with your failures as a leader, to that same extent you will create an environment conducive to growing and retaining productive and committed colleagues.


This is the strange paradox of leading: to the degree you attempt to hide or dissemble your weaknesses, the more you will need to control those you lead, the more insecure you will become, and the more rigidity you will impose— prompting the ultimate departure of your best people.


Paradoxically, when we muster the courage to name our fears, we gain greater confidence and far greater trust from others.


So if you love truth and are bound to its proclamation, flee the cults of pretence and Christian artifice. Seek out a new context in which to lead. If you find a church or organization that is not bound to pretence but might simply be ill equipped to admit what the Scriptures teach about our struggle with sin, you will be in a place where honesty has the greatest potential to alter the culture of latent deceit.


True core strength is willing to feel helpless and disturbed, and it results in a self- disciplined and passionate life rather than in a controlling life that fears what may surprisingly arise.


Finally, the beleaguered leader can easily isolate himself and fill his loneliness with the cancers of addictive substances and behaviours, ranging from sex to alcohol to simple workaholism.


Few leaders operate out of confidence built on anything but the crumbling foundation of arrogance. Few know peace that is not dependent on performance. Few exercise freedom and creativity that are not bound to conventionality. And few possess the capacity to care for people that is not shadowed by either the urge to please others or to knuckle under to the tyranny of “should.”


All I can do is say amen to all this. May we seek to accept the challenge to admit our inadequacies, disown arrogance and rely on our God.

Tony Thompson

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