What has two thumbs, an exhausting drive, a bold and frequently loud voice/opinion and a leadership style that is, many times, shortsighted?
This guy (pictured above and is presently writing this blog post)!
Don’t quit on me, I am slowly (even though I’m really trying) growing and the following is a simple acknowledgement of the many areas I am a weak leader, as well as a plea for patience and grace.
REAL QUICK… WHY?
Now, you may be wondering why I would write something like this. I mean, is this one of those sales pitch things where a person lists their weaknesses but they’re really just strengths? You know… like, “I care too much” or “I work too hard” or “Sometimes I can be too invested in my job” (special thanks goes out to Michael Scott and the writers of the Office for these).
It’s not that.
Honestly, these are things I really want to grow in and I know I need to continue to work on. I’m writing these things out, publicly, because I want accountability and because I need trust and grace in my present leadership. My thinking is, if you know that I know that I’m not awesome and I’m working on it, then it may be easier to follow me, in spite of me, in the present.
I don’t want to be the problem, I want to be part of the solution.
A LIST OF SHORT-COMINGS
Now, some of the items on the list can also serve to be strengths in a leader, but as this is a soul-bearing acknowledgement of those areas where I need and desire growth, I will detail them in the negative. So… here goes.
Impatience – I frequently need to be reminded that I “do church” for a living. I’m paid (which continues to blow my mind) to engulf myself in every facet of spiritual life and ministry. Too often I am frustrated by the reality of those who have to “do life” outside of the church. That’s not only unfair, it’s a bad way to lead. Instead of expecting certain things, I need to plan and figure out how to come alongside people with patience, grace and reasonable goals and expectations.
Big Vision, Poor Communication – No one has ever told me to think outside of the box. I live outside of the box and tend to poke holes in it (often inadvertently poking someone inside) while drawing Tim Burtonesque figures on its sides. I have a macro-level vision for the church but I struggle to bring it down to a bite-size, easily digestible, micro-chunk level that can be owned and understood by others. See, in my head I can see how everything connects and informs everything else… it just makes sense. So, when I begin to “cast” the vision I tend to speak with bold confidence but often without the clarity that’s so necessary for a leader to lead (and have anyone follow). Writing it out helps. I need to write more.
Blunt – So… if you don’t really want to know if that outfit makes you look fat I’m probably not the person to ask. I have opinions; I will tell you what they are. I’ve found that people don’t actually like that… can’t tell you why!?!? Instead of directly answering or responding to people, I need to do a better job of asking questions to find out what they are really asking or looking for.
Overt Passion – You know that guy who loves that sports team so much that it’s all he talks about? That guy is annoying. I’m that guy when it comes to the church and Jesus. I’m a fanatic. The only thing that can “help” here would be for me to talk less. I’m not sure that’s an attainable goal!
Restless/Driven – “Do we have to do it that way?” “Why?” “Give me a reason!” “Is there something better?” “Is there something we’re not thinking of?” These are the titles of the hit tracks that play on repeat in my head. It’s not that I don’t love or respect history and tradition. Those things are wonderful. They inform who we are and who we will become. But history and tradition are merely pieces to the puzzle of the present. I can’t stop striving for what’s best but I need to do it in a way that doesn’t exhaust, step on or step over the people I’m supposed to take with me.
Over Confident – Probably easier to just say “proud.” I regularly operate under the assumption that I’m right making all those who disagree with me… wrong! When my over confidence is at its worst I can’t consider other perspectives and I can’t hear other opinions. I need to be humble (duh!). I need to begin with the assumption that I have something to learn, room to grow and an opportunity to be blessed by the godly people around me.
Sinner – I’m more than just “not perfect.” I’m a sinner. I sin. Jesus is working on me, but I’m going to let people down, I’m going to say and do hurtful things, I’m going to lie when I can justify it, I’m going to worship things other than God… I’m a sinner. I sin. No excuses! However, when I sin I need to be the first to confess it and deal with it openly.
DON’T CRY FOR ME “ARGENTINA”
With all these shortcomings you might think I’m huddled in the corner of my office weeping in hopelessness and despair. I promise you, that’s not the case.
I know I’m flawed, but my hope and assurance is in the person and work of Jesus.
Jesus is an “in spite of me and yet through me” type of guy. He will bless people, in spite of me and yet through me. He will grow His church, in spite of me and yet through me. He will heal people’s wounds, in spite of me and yet through me. He will accomplish His will, in spite of me and yet through me.
I know that it’s all about Jesus. All credit, all glory, all honor… it belongs to Him. I’m good with that. In fact, I’m thankful that it’s not about me… I’m a mess.
MATURING IN THE MIDST
Truth be told, I have a lot of growing up to do. It’s a slow process because I’m a stubborn man. In the midst of leading His people, I’m maturing. Stick with me. I’ll never be perfect but He will make me better.