I Love You; You’re Perfect; Now Change

March 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm (change, Feedback Received, Introspection, Leadership, Musings) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

One of the core values of Western churches is consensus.  Consensus is a value because we have trained ourselves to be, in a word, “nice.”  We don’t want to offend anyone.  In fact, we, as a Church, seek to be all things to all people.  I find that somewhat humorous – for it was just 150 years ago that Abraham Lincoln could be heard to say:

“You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

Yet, for some reason, we seem to think that the path towards spiritual wholeness lies in not offending anyone.  Well, frankly, that offends me.  We have no trouble keep the masses content, but how do we do at keeping the rest drawn to what Jesus Christ has to offer?  Frankly, we don’t do well at all.  In fact, we are quite offensive to those who value excellence, intellectual stimulation, and spiritual growth.

We have so watered down the Church, that we (Christians) are the minority in Western spiritual thought – and we barely register in the east!  What would happen if we were to strive for excellence?  What would happen if we were to cater to the bold, the audacious, and the creative?  Instead, we often, if not usually, cater to the least common denominator.  I find this sad.

A leader I admire taught me something important:

“The speed of the leader, determines the speed of the organization.”

From the moment I heard this, it made sense to me.  If the leader isn’t out front, leading, the troops will stop and wait for said leader.  If the leader doesn’t keep up – or lead – the troops will pick their own direction, pace, and agenda.

The biblical model for leadership was simple.  God called someone, He anointed them – usually after a painful training process, then He installed them to lead His people.  Not the leader’s people, but God’s people.

Often the people complained, whined, rebelled, and tried to wiggle away from God’s leader.  Sometimes God tolerated it, but often He took some dramatic action towards the dissenters.  What church leader today doesn’t pray for the ground to open up and swallow the naysayers?

Today’s church leadership selection process is not modeled in the Bible.  Usually, a select group of people selects another group of people, and that group selects the least offensive, most politically correct, and safest person they can find.  The process has evolved to the point where we find people who are kind, gentle, and nice.  Good sermons are valued – but good people skills are even better.  Gone are the days of warrior leaders – men like Moses and David.  Gone are the men who were not afraid to tell the truth – men like Jeremiah or Zechariah.

Most church leaders today are grace-givers.  I wonder how many are truth-tellers?  It seems as if truth-telling is not appreciated by most congregations.  I wonder, when choosing a primary physician, do you want one who is willing to tell you what it would take to extend your life, or do you want one who will make you feel good about yourself?  Do you want a physician who will tell you the truth, or one who will hide serious issues from you?

I’m a truth-teller.  I was at the back of the line when the mercy gifts were being passed out.  I’m OK with that, why is everyone else so upset?

I told them I was an uncompassionate, truth-telling leader when they interviewed me.  Why are they asking me to change now?

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