Monday, July 19, 2010

At the Head of the Pack - Well, for 12 Laps

In the late 70's I raced motorcycles. That's my 1977 Honda 750/4 Super Sport. It was fast, really fast. At Louden track in New Hampshire, I drew poll position, and for 12 laps I was in the lead.

This week your Kingdom Bloggers are going to write about leadership - the Christian kind. As always, you never know what you are going to get until Cradic winds it up on Friday.

On the 13th lap I was passed by the number one rider in the US. I passed him on the back straight away going into a a downhill hairpin turn. I didn't make the corner and hit the hay bails and tires at somewhere in the vicinity of 80 mph.

I wasn't the leader anymore. I didn't even finish the race.

Church leadership is very different. It is not about being first, but about being last. Matthew 20:16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

I read this and I wonder how even something as small as a "Reserved for Pastor" sign can show up right at the door - sometimes closer than the handicapped space. Just a pet peeve... I know that real shepherds lead their flock from the back, caring for their safety and feeding. I guess the Larry King preachers need to have some sort of fanfare and popularity. It seems like it comes at a price to the church. I don't know, it is confusing to me.

Now that I'm done ranting, I will personalize this. I once received a prophecy in which God called me a "reluctant leader." For many years I struggled with what leadership really was - I still do. I used to co-lead a "Divorced and Widowed" group at church. I had no idea that the church considered this leadership - so I never even gave a thought to going to the leadership retreat. The Sunday after the retreat, the pastor asked me how come I wasn't there. Hunh? I had no idea I was considered a leader. I was just doing something that I felt the Lord wanted me to do. I didn't even have my name printed on the bulletin!

I have played on worship teams since the early 80's. I never led - actually, I have never been asked what songs I would like to do. It's funny how leadership can work in the church.

Me, I am more of a Gideon - a bit of a coward. I don't have a lot of faith or confidence when it comes to knowing what to do, or how things should go. There are better teachers, preachers, speakers, husbands, fathers, guitarists, and writers than David Johndrow. It is funny, in the same prophecy I received about being a reluctant leader, God also said that I would "write, write write."

There was a book by John Maxwell that a lot of folks read about 8 or 9 years ago. It seemed to be a "leadership manual" for a lot of church folks. And he makes some good points about effective leaders. Some would say that leaders are born, and others feel that they are made or can be trained. That may be true at work, but I disagree that is how it works in the church.

True church leaders are called and they act serving others. They can work in a team without being the boss. Like pushing a bus full of believers. That's the leadership I think is most biblical.

Being called by God is far more important than us pushing ahead with our natural talents. Certainly God can use our natural talents, but those are not spiritual gifts. In my case, God chose to use some of the things that I am not good at. I failed reading and/or English 9 out of 12 years. In college I received one of my lowest marks in English. God took a guy afraid to fly and sent him to South America and Scandinavia as a missionary. I don't believe that He is looking for talent.

I still don't really know what a leader is - it doesn't seem to be related to position, or title. I suppose just because we can get some folks to follow us could be a sign. Maybe real leadership is ministering God's heart, but anyone could do that, right? I still ponder what really makes a spiritual leader. The following verse is as far as I've gotten in my 30 year study.

2 Corinthians 12:10b For when I am weak, then I am strong.

How about you, are you weak? Do you believe that God can use it?


Solid Rock or Sinking Sand said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. I just love the Holy scripture at the bottom of your post. For when I am the weakest, I then am strong in Christ Jesus. Amen

Tracy said...

Over that last few years I've seen God use me MORE in my weakness. Perhaps so that it is clear that the work is all His doing.

photogr said...

Reluctant learder. That is classic David. Like it or not, you are a spiritual leader. Better get busy and let God guide you.

As far as me being weak? Yep, I am. I am also too old to do the leadership stuff any more. I am content to just be a follower for now.