Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why Not Lead?

I wrote a series of six articles for my blog last year about Leadership. The thrust of the articles was to share my thoughts regarding Joel Barker's Leadershift--Five Lessons for Leaders in the 21st Century. In reality it was a kind of running dialogue between me and Barker's video presentation, his leadership principles and their application to local church ministry. If you would like to review them the links are below.

Like everyone else I have been watching and reading the reports regarding the recovery and stimulus plan that is working its way through congress. I listened to several commentators on the radio today as I traveled. Some complained that our new president had not provided more leadership in solving our nations current problems. (That sounded a little strange to me when you consider the complexity of the problems and the fact that he has only been in office about three weeks.) Other reporters were frustrated at the Washington politics and lack of leadership in the House and Senate. While I certainly hope those who are much smarter than I am will find ways to help our country work through the multiple challenges we face, the discussions on the news programs prompted me to think about "leadership" again.

Solving a problem is really a leadership issue. We need information, background data, and a critical examination of the problem, but ultimately problem-solving is a leadership issue. Someone has to identify the problem, pull together the resources (people, information, etc.), and develop a process or strategy to solve the problem. The more complex the problem the more information and input on the process may be needed. Unfortunately, most problems do not "go away" on their own. I am convinced our current economic and housing crisis will not. I am praying for those who are working on the solution.

As I consider church life, I realize that many churches have been living with difficult problems that negatively impact their ministries for years. A great many churches and pastors want to avoid conflict and disagreement at any cost. In reality conflict is a natural (and even healthy) part of every organization made up of people including the church. Many church leaders do not understand how to work through problems and conflicts in a healthy, productive way. Sometimes a small problem has grown into a major crisis just because no one provided leadership to find a solution.

I realize that change and growth are never easy. I also know they never happen without some conflict and frequently they create problems. However, these problems are why we need leaders. Leaders who are courageous enough to take on the serious challenges before them. Leaders who are not afraid to help a church move to healthy ministry even when it means helping people work through problems. So my question is, Why not lead? I believe it is a part of our calling as ministers and church leaders. Those with leadership gifts should use them for the benefit of the Kingdom. Maybe there has never been a time when we needed leaders more--in our government and in our churches.

Leadership Articles:
Leadership 1 - Definition & Roles
Leadership 2 - Focus on the Future
Leadership 3 - Understanding Change
Leadership 4 - Complex Systems
Leadership 5 - Leadership Styles
Leadership 6 - Shared Vision

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