In the last few years because of the public scandals in the christian community life gets pretty rocky for those of us who are trying our best to lead with integrity. The social networks hit the share buttons, the tweet flies by our eyes, the dialogue continues. Behind the scenes churches come up with new ways of accountability for leaders, and tighten down the hatches.
I don’t believe more accountability and more structure is the answer. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying as leaders we are not to be accountable to others. Down through the ages, including in the bible, sin rears its ugly head in the life of leaders and the church and accountability is necessary. Yet lets not batten down the hatches on all believers and christian leaders, because of those who messed up big time and are all over the news. Opinions flow freely on the social networks from those who are Christ followers and those who are not. Church boards across the nation begin to restructure, because they are saying we will not allow this to happen to us!
Lets get real here, without making excuses! Sin began in the garden of Eden, it continued on during the time of the Old Testament and the New Testament! It is not going away just because we place tighter and tighter controls on our Christian leaders and the body of Christ. Man made rules will never work. All they will do is place a leader in a position of leading from fear, instead of a love that flows from Jesus Christ.
Have you ever had a time in your life when you gave up searching for the answer because you felt stuck in a circumstance? Then once you gave up searching the answer arrives and poof, you wish you did not have the answer! Tonight was one of those nights for me.
There was a time that I knew the direction I was to take in a specific area of my life. Yet, somehow I lost 2 of my goals in the shuffle of my everyday life! Tonight I found the two lost goals in the middle of my anger. I was preparing to print a copy of a letter to be mailed tomorrow. It is late and what happens? I cannot find one single piece of printer paper! The industrious person that I am, begins to look through my stacks of writing projects. They are packed away in plastic containers waiting for the move. They are neatly held together with binder clips. I am going through each one hoping to find one piece of blank white paper!
I finally stop looking, realizing that I have everything well-organized and in order. I know myself well enough to realize that there will be no blank sheet of paper in the piles. I begin to place my stack of writing back in the plastic container and I am angry. I am angry at myself, because the answer I was searching for sat a few feet away from me for months. Tonight I realize I spent so much time assisting others to launch their projects, that mine are sitting in containers waiting for me to take them out, and publish them publicly in courses and books.
Yes, I am in a new season and I am launching an online course soon! As this launches I will pull out one stack of writing at a time and begin typing and work on rough drafts one at a time. Then before long the e-book will be available and all nine online courses. Who would have guessed that God would show me the answer, as I searched for one piece of blank white paper?
It is Monday and there are those who read my online material who may stumble across my words, “Yes, I am a Monday morning lover! I think it is, because I enjoy starting a new week, realizing that as we move through the week, it is another day that God gifts me with! I changed my schedule for the day. Usually every morning Monday thru Friday I record a daily audio called; Backyard Chat w/ Nancy J.
There is construction noise going on outside my window. Lots of sound from sledge hammers, saws, smaller hammers and worker chat. A new porch is beginning to emerge as the old is being torn apart. Life is like that sometime isn’t it? The old life from the previous season of life must be torn down and removed to step into the new season. As I write this once again I realize I am in a new season of life! In new seasons we live in the known and at the same time the unknown. In the new season we are willing to walk by faith as each new day approaches. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy a new season with what I do know and even the part of life that is still a question mark!
For example 4 weeks ago I began co leading a time of praying for our cities. When this idea arrived my co leader and I set this up within one week. We had no idea that we would be launching this, but we were willing to step into the new challenge. This week we are stepping into week 4 and we continue on in this season. We are Praying for our cities!
Testing pdf link below.
I did not plan on writing a blog post tonight, but as I wind down for the evening I believe it is time for me to share my honest transparent thoughts. Very seldom will anyone hear me say the words, “I am discouraged.” They may hear me say, “I am tired, but not discouraged.” I am one of those people who takes a while for reality to set in. Especially when people around me turn my world upside down, and I have no control of the upside down motion. It is not that I am a person who tries to control life, but one who expects the best in people. Then those I think the best of begin to speak words that pull the strings of my heart, bring tears to my eyes and attack me as a person and life changes. It is in this place that I begin to falter and I become discouraged. It is in this place that I begin to admit that there are people in this world that do not care about the feelings of others. They do not take in to account how they speak to others. They are christian leaders who others do not place on a pedestal, instead they place themselves on a pedestal. It is a most dangerous place to be!
The most difficult part of what I write about here is not, because the words that were recently spoken to me cut deep, but that these words are also spoken to people who may be weaker in their faith. Just maybe all of the articles we are reading about people, especially young adults who are leaving the church ( as an organization) are wrong. What if they are leaving, because of what they see in community, what they hear, and what message they are given? Could it be that they are tired, of trying to fit in when each community has different rules, different expectations, different structures and different hoops to jump through to be accepted? Could it be that because what is permissible in one church community, is not permissible in another and as leaders we are causing confusion? Is it time for christian leaders to begin taking responsibility for how they speak to others, no matter the age of the person? Could it be that we have placed taskmasters in prominent leadership positions, who will duplicate themselves with a generation of taskmasters, which in turn sets in motion the perpetual leaving of those who no longer desire to be part of a church community?
Is it time for christian leaders to examine how they speak to the body of Christ in interpersonal relationships? Does the attitude of the heart and the words we speak only apply to those we lead and not to ourselves as leaders?
The questions I ask in this post will anger a few, but then again maybe not, because they are to busy wielding the rod of authority to care that there is another way to lead, that builds the body of Christ up and does not tear it down. In their mind they stay away from pages in the bible that talk about grace, mercy and love, for these are words that bring leaders down to the level of those in the body of Christ.
Could it be, that it is time for leaders to take a look at their interpersonal communication style with the body of Christ? It is not an easy thing to do, but in the end it will bring the body of Christ together as one and it will be built up.
This is an update from our Women Praying For Our Cities on Tuesday, July 8, 2014.