Leadership resilience in congregations today is frequently stretched and in short supply, for both men and women.
Leadership demands have always been great. Maybe never more so than now when following the familiar mission maps of yesterday are hopelessly out of date.
A simple question: How’s your resiliency quotient right now?
Like a lot of leaders in this community, I run pretty hot and go pretty hard.
I remember a season in my 30’s (yes, my 30’s!) when I started to wonder about retirement. (I remember being disappointed that the retirement plan didn’t promise much to 30-somethings opting early for tranquility.)
I remember another season when our congregation was navigating enormous changes and I was on the receiving end of my share of criticism from an unhappy few. A late afternoon run was part of my ritual back then. Frequently, I’d see the “lawn mower guy” along the park district path…headphones on, bouncing along, no one barking in his ear. It seemed like the obvious career transition.
Somewhere around 45 or 50, it was a simple question that lingered: Can I keep running for another 20 years and showing up as a ministry asset and not a ministry liability?
I could share more.
Looking back? Leadership resilience? It was in short supply!
So, it’s all about relationships, right? Resilience? If you want to be simple about it…
…Cultivating relationship with God through Jesus that regularly refreshes identity as His child (apart from performance!) and reminds of His promise to provide and protect.
…Cultivating relationships with some others…spouse, friends, colleagues, coaches who know you and love you for who you are and even for what you’re not.
…Cultivating rhythms of rest and work, abiding and bearing fruit that support both of the above.
It should be so easy! Unfortunately it’s a toxic environment for many leaders in the church today. It’s the reason why PLI collegial groups and coaching huddles and cohorts have been so powerful for so many.
Here’s the reality…
- Isolation is killing the courage and hope of leaders. Period!
- Unattended-to relationships in marriage and elsewhere bounce leaders back to isolation.
- Feel goods… a substance, the internet, an inappropriate relationship… offer to numb the isolation pain today only to negotiate a greater pain tomorrow.
Congregations need resilient leaders who can show up and lead forward in mission where results cannot be promised and outcomes are uncertain.
I need to pause and simply say thanks to a few of you…maybe more than a few of you!…for leading. It’s more challenging than you thought when you signed up. Right? For what it’s worth, thanks. The PLI family loves you and cares about you and stands with you.
- There’s a bell that’s going off as you read this.
- An action is required!
- A call to a companion or a counselor or a coach is warranted. It would be the exercise of honest, unplanned courage!