Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


On Being a Christian Leader

In writing Why Leaders Blog at D-Tour, Bob Hyatt talks about the end of keeping leaders on a pedestal:
Bob also write about this at his church's website saying We will disappoint you. He is right. The era of the leader on the pedestal is over. Not that we shouldn't respect our pastors or leaders, but too many of us grew up being allowed to think that the pastor was a cut above, on some super-spiritual plane that we should aspire to, but probably would never reach short of becoming pastors ourselves (or missionaries... missionaries were even better in some cases). The problem is that leaders are only human and the first time they show that, those who enjoy the leader-on-the-pedestal are left feeling hurt and betrayed.

Better to let people know up front- I'm just like you. I struggle with self-doubt, with identity and motivation issues just like everyone. I struggle with sin. I get angry. I'm selfish too much of the time. Sometimes I don't want to spend time with God. I hate the fact that my hair is deserting me, but my stomach seems to be hitting a growth period. But in the midst of all that God shows me grace and forgiveness, God is my center and my ground.

It's possible to live this life and not be swept away, not be pulled under. And it doesn't happen because you reach a level of spiritual perfection where the waters calm and the clouds part. It happens because through those very things you struggle with you are driven time and time again to God Himself.
Of course, we shouldn't put leaders on a pedestal. Any leader is human and will let you down. That's why Christian leadership, like the whole Christian walk with Christ is not about saying "Look at me and how wonderful I am" but "Look at Jesus and how wonderful he is."

Many people who read this blog do not go to King of Peace, so I don't know who your pastor is or what she or he is like (unless I am your pastor and in that case you already know me to be imperfect). But I know this. He or she is human and he or she will let you down. It comes with the territory. The question is not whether a pastor will dissapoint you, but in what way and how will you (and he or she) respond.

Think of it this way. Outside of church you are the Christian others look to for an example of what Christians are like. Your co-workers who know you are a Christian will look to you for a Christ-like example, especially those who look for Christians to fail so they can feel better about not being as spiritual. And like any Christian, including the pastor, you too will get it right at times and fail at times.

Yes, I think it is fair to hold leaders to a higher standard. It is also fair to try to hold yourself to a higher standard (whether you are a leader or not), knowing that you will fall short at times. The more you keep God as your center and ground, the less you will say that vicious come back or that hurtful put down and the more you will turn the other cheek and show a loving response. This is the task of all Christians, as each of us seeks to lead others to Christ by quiet example more than public proclomation. That's my take. What do you think?

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor



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