What if the real measure of your leadership was not all that was accomplished within your span of influence (count: worship attendance, offerings, buildings and programs built, etc.), but the “successes/successors,” the congregational “heroes,” you mentored? Successors who might shine as bright or brighter than you and might become the future leaders/mentors the church will need?
Rather than standing watch at the accelerating decline across much of the church, you would begin to invest in a counter trend!
A couple of things would need to change for this to happen.
Congregational score-keeping would need to change.
The most common score-keeping: Are weekly worship attendance and weekly offerings up or down? (They’re almost always lagging indicators of other investments.)
This score has not been favorable for the large majority of churches in America for years now.
Some have long justified this as a sign of being faithful, especially if the “numbers” go way down.
Others ponder how to perform better. Produce more. Purchase the new program…all while ignoring that the “one on many” leadership reach is quickly fading from the American church landscape.
“One on many” worked well in the “come to church” culture that is mostly gone.
Leaders must die to the lure for celebrity.
Some dismiss it as big ego. It’s the little snap inside the soul of the leader where it all started with good intention. But then good intention gets co-opted with the need to be distinguished among people or peers to scratch the sinful itch that feeds unhealthy ambition or the misplaced longing for approval.
It’s almost impossible for leaders to humbly, doggedly invest themselves so deeply in others who might shine brighter than them or even after them if they haven’t surrendered that snap within the soul at the foot of the cross.
So, what would it take…for you to care less about how many people or peers marvel at your leadership mastery? What would it take to complement it with a commitment to the dogged, humble pursuit of exercising your unique influence to mentor others to be the great champions with you now and that can extend beyond you later?
You would need to…
- Continue to perform at your highest and best leadership capacities.
- Spot the sinful tug toward personal ambition or the deep-in-your-soul need for approval. And repent.
- Mentor a few other leaders with a first order of importance that could be congregational heroes who could extend the Gospel reach of your congregation today…and tomorrow.
Leadership is hard. It’s almost always uphill. But we never walk it alone.