This week I had one of those great moments of maturing……What you ask!
Well, I began to recognize the wisdom of some very great men in my life. As my ministry and our church has undergone a HUGE transition this year, I have been charged with leading the way. It has been a very daunting and, at times, discouraging task. But, I have always been excited and ready! Why? Because God has given me the vision and direction for where He is taking our church family in the coming years.
We have gone through labor pains of growth. We have tackled major splits, transitions and struggles. We have weathered huge growth and great shrinkage. We have seen many great days and many bad days. All the while, I have remained ready to move ahead. Why? Well, because I have had the vision. I knew, by the grace of God, where it was we were headed and what God required of us to get there. But, that was not true of everyone involved.
The reality is that any group needs a leader. Everyone, including myself, needs to follow a leader. We need someone to show us the way and guide us on the path! The challenge falls to the one leading. In our church, this was and is me. At times, this can be a very scary and intimidating task. I have always been a young guy in an older world. But, this time I found it very challenging. I leaned on verses like 1 Timothy 4:12 and Jeremiah 1:5-6.
Here was the struggle and challenge for me…..I had to articulate vision and mission and get people to follow. For me, that is easy! When someone presents and gives me a good vision and mission, I find it easy to follow. That is not true for all people! DUH!!!!
There are two men in my life, my mentor/advisor team. They are two men who God providentially placed in my life to give me wisdom and balance in leadership. There are not enough words to share my love and appreciation for these two men. They have been a pillar for me in tough times, and a sounding board when there was nowhere else to go. I love these guys dearly.
They gave me some simple advice many months ago……”Don’t expect everyone to jump on board with the vision. Sometimes we need to coach, reassure and bring people along. Not everyone will follow right away. But with patience, care and nurturing they will follow.” These guys were 100% right. I am a “no nonsense” guy. I do not waste time or words in order to accomplish tasks. But, not all people are this way. It has taken me years, more specifically the last 9 months, to realize this.
As our church has undergone regeneration and transformation (a tangible evidence of the power of the Gospel) I have had to patiently lead and guide dozens of leaders through the long hard process. I had had to share and re-share the vision dozens and dozens of times. I have had to beat y head, and sometimes fists, against the wall in my office in frustration. But, in time and diligence, the process has paid off!
Last week, we adopted a new name, we adopted a new set of By-Laws, we adopted a new leadership model, and we looked towards a new building to call home. While it seemed like an eternity to me, it has only taken 9-10 months for God to renew our church. That is a MIRACLE!!!!!
The maturity I learned and experienced is this, listen well to the older and wiser men. Test their words against scripture. When they are found to be just and sound, then follow! I did and it paid off.
I cannot take credit for what God has done in our church. But, I know two men who are humble and quiet who have no idea the roles they have played in this metamorphosis! These two men need to be recognized for humbly following God and submitting to His call. These two men need to be credited for holding my arms up when the going got tough. The reality is that we cannot do life, nor lead, alone! We need one another.