Thursday, November 08, 2012


In Denny Gunderson's book, Through the Dust, of twenty years ago, three points appear to be important to effective leadership in God's kingdom:
  1. The natural mind of western man is obsessed with formula and technique.  Jesus simply won't fit into our comfortable equations for success.  About the time we think we have God nailed down, He shifts and this bugs those of us who work from both categories and comfort.
  2. Jesus' servant-style leadership goes against the grain of human ego.  I believe I will always be grateful for what Memorial's elders have done to mentor the staff and then the church to stay out of the way.  Church isn't about us.  It is all about Him.  Kingdom isn't about how we are producing.  It is about His timing, His impact, and His glory....never ours.
  3. Our utter concentration upon "success" fuels us with a tainted incentive to look good.  I am all about looking good....except I can't keep it up.  Gunderson nailed me when he wrote, The problem is that servant leadership cannot fit into the straitjacket of immediate results, as its environment is the rarefied realm of the long range.  Eighteen straight years of my basic failed attempts to make things click at Memorial were indeed necessary and valuable.  I learned by enduring, but not leaving, that I could not make a church tick....fact and final.  Simultaneously, I learned He knew how if I would get out of the way.
So permit me to quote from Mr. Gunderson one more time to drive home this very needed theme. 

One's destiny also becomes one's test, however.  The person driven to act out and prove that he is God's specially called man (or woman) can easily forfeit his anointing to lead.  The initial calling may well be from God, but when stained by human ego, destiny degenerates into the fetid stench of empire-building, and empire builders have the unfortunate tendency of ending up as false prophets! 

The leader who wishes to emulate Jesus resists the great temptation to build ministry around himself.  He chooses to abandon himself to the will and the pleasure of God on a moment by moment basis.

One of my downfalls also turned out to be one of my best classrooms.  I wanted to please AND TO IMPRESS the loud voices of the brotherhood.  Yet, as I noted patience rather than fleeting numbers and the kindness of Jesus over my own bold clarionship, it became clear to me that my understanding of church motivation and leadership was both Christless and ego-centric.  I hungered for immediate approval of my peers over long range waiting for God to move.

Only by His grace did enough good friends surround me, that I could hang on to get to see merely a glimpse of the Jesus-style which is ever freeing and always right.

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