Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Doing What Is Necessary

There are those who seek leadership positions. They may have a certain personality that others will readily come behind, and they believe they can take that power they have and mold their own world, their own domain, into their image. For this leader things may go well for quite awhile, and they make a name for themselves. What happens though when that leader is gone?

When it comes to this type of leader I typically think of Robert Schuller, the pastor of what was known as "The Crystal Cathedral" located in Orange County, California. In his prime he was bold enough to begin preaching at a drive in movie theater, and those early endeavors led to what would become an edifice of glass and modern architecture which, in the end, may have reflected his own vision more than any holy vision. Since 2010 the Crystal Cathedral has been in bankruptcy, and the Catholic Diocese of Orange County has bought it, transforming it into what will be called "Christ Cathedral" after they remodel it to suit Catholic needs, and have set a date for its reopening in 2016.

Then there are those who don't necessarily seek to be leaders. Their lack of drive and ambition for leadership is not often the result of a lack of confidence in themselves or in their gifts and talents. For whatever reason it is simply not something they desire, and there could be any number of reasons for it. Yet they find themselves in positions of leadership, and they usually see it as a job that needs to be done that they have been entrusted to do.

While there are many more in positions of leadership who I believe fit the latter better than the former, truth be told all leadership comes down to stewardship. I cannot think of one instance where that is not true.

There is something to be said for the boldness of vision that those like Robert Schuller possess, even if over time it becomes misplaced. Even scripture says "Where there is no vision the people perish" (as written in the King James Bible).

However what gets overlooked far too often is that the above mentioned verse talks about where God's vision is, not humanity's. Was it really God who gave the vision to have a glass chapel built for Him? Only one person can truly answer that, though we might make a well informed guess into what that answer might be.

That does not diminish the fact though that vision is a good thing, but it must be tempered by God's vision over our own. And the question must be asked "who benefits from this vision?" That is where stewardship of God's call to leadership must be made clear. Godly vision casting should serve to inspire people to serve Christ rather than a mere man or an edifice. Christ calls people into leadership and places them there to serve Him. Stewardship.

But there are those who don't necessarily have a bold vision. They may have ideas and plans, but they may simply be variations on what has been done in the past. They may not actively seek leadership but find themselves in such positions. To them, good stewardship of the office they have been given is not such a stretch, and their leadership may reflect more a team effort than a single person. They still though must ultimately submit to God's vision and call.

Scripture is full of both types of leaders. What they all had in common though was a willingness to do what God called them to do, and do what was necessary for the building up of His kingdom, and not their own.

Doing what is necessary doesn't mean doing what is popular, what is expedient, or even always what is expected. Leaders are people who are entrusted with a task that others are not entrusted with. This is true outside the church as it is inside. Because of this, leaders walk where others don't. That isn't to say they aren't surrounded with people who will give them advice and insight, but ultimately they are the ones who are entrusted to make decisions.

As a leader, as a pastor, I know that the church is not about me. I see my role as a leader to bring about God's vision and to encourage others to take up that vision and run with it. I am not there to assert my will, my plan, but have been entrusted by a district leader, conference leaders, denominational leaders and bishops, but most importantly Christ. I am a steward of an office that was ordained by God that His kingdom might be built up, not my own, not any pastor's own. That may mean there are times when I won't do the popular thing to do, or go in a direction that others may not agree with. There will be those who, because of their disagreement, will leave. Then again, people left Jesus too.

Ultimately, doing what is necessary, meaning doing what Christ has called me to do in order to bring Him glory and honor, is what my vision is. It is my hope that the decisions I make will reflect that.

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