I’m going to share with you today some really personal things about being someone who is gifted to share publically…someone who ends up being out the front…which ultimately is a position of leadership (whether I like to admit it or not) as being out the front in any way or sharing your ideas publically, by speaking, reading, writing, praying or singing is leading others in their worship and connecting with God.
I’m sharing this post because for those who aren’t gifted this way, I think it can be difficult to relate to those people who seem to be ‘Oh so comfortable being out there’…I think at times there can be some unfounded, damaging ideas which creep in and can actually damage our brothers or sisters in Christ who are actually just exercising their gifts.
1. Leadership is an act of obedience: Just like the person who is gifted to silently serve by cooking out the back, a leader is gifted to do so and therefore is exercising their gift and being obedient to The Lord. Can a leader get puffed up? Sure, I believe so, as we are all still fallible…yet I ask you, can the silent cook get bitter and nasty and turn to gossip while serving out the back? We know the answer…
When I serve out the front it is an act of obedience. There is so much of me which can get stressed by being obedient in such an exposed, public way and there is something deep within which knows that if I don’t serve in this way I am actually being unfaithful to The Lord – people don’t see the prayer which goes on beforehand and my inner negative thoughts which I also need to pray away before stepping forward.
2. Leaders are sensitive too: Sometimes it’s easy to just forget this fact when a person seems so comfortable out the front. Usually it’s only the leader’s closest friends who get to see them in times of not leading and their heart which trusts The Lord to do such public ministry - at times receiving no affirmation or acknowledgement.
As a creative person and leader there is so much of who I am as a person being held up for others to see…this is just a reality and I can also be my own worst critic.
3. Sometimes leaders want to hide: Because leading is so public it can be very taxing and leaders need time out to refuel and re-energise with The Lord. Sometimes a leader can have personal stuff going on in their life and just feel like sitting and listening to the worship service, rather than leading, yet at times cannot do so. Sometimes a leader would prefer to bury their gift in the ground rather than give a challenging sermon which they know could possible create tension with some people.
There can be an idea that leaders love being leaders, they love the attention of being out the front and to challenge people; therefore they do not need time out, yet in reality there is a part of me who at times just wants to hide.
4. Leaders can suffer persecution: Being a leader doesn’t always equate to massive amounts of friends. It’s not like a church leader is a celebrity (well at least here where I live). A leader is first and foremost accountable to The Lord, their obedience to Him takes precedence and this will not always make people like them. Being an outspoken Christian can be challenging to others and also being out the front can stir jealously within other people who desire to be gifted differently.
The road is narrow for all Christians and Jesus said His followers would suffer persecution – this includes leaders whom some think ‘have it all’.
Even this post isn’t easy to write…when a Christian uses their gifts publically they expose themselves to others and inevitably are vulnerable. Yet a true Christian leader does so out of obedience, to serve The Lord and the body of Christ.
It’s my heart’s desire for this post to help you to better see leaders in the future…
Scripture tells us to pray for our leaders and I tell you, yes they need it oh so much. Let your words be a blessing to your brothers and sisters who are gifted to serve publically, encourage and build them up in Christ…If they need a rebuke, I’d advise to do it gently and lovingly, as leaders can already be their own worst critic, very sensitive and tired.
Before speaking a harsh word against your leaders to others, ask yourself is this gossip, have I prayed for them? Because a true godly leader probably has already prayed for you, and wouldn’t say something so hurtful to others about you. We are to love others as ourselves and this includes our leaders.
In His Service, Melanie :)