Wearing The Wrong Hat

There are several types of pastors. Some pastors are best described as visionary. When these pastors start a church, they plan it with an organizational chart fit for 1000 members, even though the initial membership is only a handful, often just family members. As membership grows, he fills ministry positions in the org chart with workers. Many pastors of mega-churches are this type of pastor.

Another type doesn’t start with a specific type of vision or long term plan. They become pastors because they see needs that they feel God has called them to meet. So they usually start churches without an organizational plan. They build their churches bit by bit as needs arise and as people become available who are willing to serve.

Both types have their strengths and weaknesses. The former are able to accomplish great things but they run the risk of hurting people in the process by being too goal-oriented. The latter are able to maintain good relationships with their co-laborers, but their ministries may not bear much fruit because their goals are not clear and they lack a strong desire to succeed.

I think that there’s a need for both types in the Kingdom for doing the Lord’s work. When herding sheep, there’s a need for shepherds to lead the way and clear a path, as well as shepherds to guard the rear and keep the herd from wandering astray.

I consider myself to be of the second type. But I was surprised to find that many people think of me as being the first. I’ve been puzzled by the discrepancy between people’s perception and what I know myself to be. But I think I now know why this is.

My goal in ministry has been to listen to and obey God’s voice. In the process, God has accomplished His vision through me. This might make me appear to be a visionary, but I have never had a clear vision ? any vision has been the Lord’s. And in trying to fulfill God’s vision, He has sent people to work with me. I have become a leader, but my leadership is more a reflection of the coworkers God has provided.

As I share the many things God has accomplished through our ministry, I find myself in the unavoidable but curious position of being seen as an authority on leadership. I published a book on leadership last month. I teach about leadership at house church conferences. This is awkward and unnatural for me. I feel like I am wearing a hat that is not my own. But I believe that this is something I must do, to give glory to God and share with others my experiences about the qualities in leaders that please God and principles that motivate people.

People may have their perceptions, but I know who I am. And I know what God has done. I am living proof that God can make anyone a leader who simply tries to listen to God’s voice and obey it.

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