The talks given in the leadership meetings we had before the general conference were from people who have been leading for a long time. They offered some of their lessons learned. Let me share a few of the ones I that I thought were really important for me to remember as a leader, a student, a teacher, a person in community, and a follower of Jesus.
Ed Piorek talked about how we as leaders can operate out of a core insecurity. This insecurity can manifest itself in competition. In the context of pastors, it often means trying to get a bigger church and have a broader ministry. Of course, competition implies comparison, whereby we measure our success in relation to how others are doing. And as is prone to happen when comparisons are made, we discover we are not doing as well as we had hoped. This can cause us to try to take more control and manipulate the situation in order to improve our station, hoping this will result in us feeling better about ourselves. But it never does. Behaviour borne out of insecurity always circles in on itself and results in more insecurity.
Gary Best offered some principles that he had learned in serving as a pastor and National leader.
1. Always serve the story; don't use the story to serve you.
2. Have a compass and a keel; in other words, know where you are headed and hold the course.
3. Realise that we cannot always be sure that we are right. Don't burn bridges by insisting that your way is the only way.
4. The only thing that lasts is something that touches a heart to become part of the greater story. It does not have to be called (insert name of your denomination or pet belief here) to be a part of the grand story of God.
5. Learn to embrace a smaller world by being willing to do less, step out of the limelight, and be a background player. Remember that our participation is a privilege, not an obligation.
Ed also offered some advice on how to develop as a secure leader. Being loved and knowing our value, especially in God's eyes, is the only thing that can deal with core insecurity. Living in love means that we act out of love. Love secures us. Love sets us free from all those urges to control and manipulate and compare. Love sends me out to serve others. What does that mean practically? Do the next thing in love. That's all. Do the next thing in love.
Thanks to Ed and Gary for sharing their wisdom and experience. You guys rock!
the photo: rock on the side of the road between my hotel and the conference. Reminds me of The Group of Seven paintings.