Continuing the FIEC address:
Now, what might prevent that happening for you? From you playing your full part in building the church as to a mature man?
I have had the chance to ask a lot of individual leaders and groups of leaders over the last 3 years why their churches aren’t producing leaders in significant numbers. The answers have been very interesting. Here are some of the top ones:
· Nobody taught me it was my responsibility to
· Nobody taught me how to
· I do 70 hours a week on things my congregation think are absolutely essential. They wouldn’t let me stop doing any of that for something that is merely of mid-long term benefit or that they don’t understand
· I have an out of control workload and no spare capacity
· The congregation don’t want me to let new leaders have a go, they say they pay me to do it
· When I trained the definition of success was “have I taken every possible opportunity to use my gifts in God’s service” rather than “ have I facilitated the service of the saints.” Therefore for me to not do something to let someone else try feels implicitly like failure, especially if they do it worse than me. Surely if we are aiming for excellence, that means me doing it
To sum up: perceived lack of ability and capacity, lack of desire, a chaplain mentality and a faulty definition of the job that flows from a faulty definition of the church.
Let me say this carefully – but I really mean it – it is possible for a desire for excellence to replace a passion for the glory of God. The tendency is to elitify everything and for slick presentation to take over from all the saints doing the work of ministry. And for us to justify it to ourselves because what else was all that hard study in aid of, if not for us to do everything to a higher standard than anyone else can?
I had those conversations in the context of why we don’t develop leaders, but some of the answers are transferable to the practical question of long haul leading for God’s glory because they are also reasons for not building disciples. Particularly as they effect our capacity, space for vision-casting, and our opportunity for careful and continuous explanation of the role of the leader and the role and purpose of the church.