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A Leader’s Courage – An Honest Look

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Fear can and will keep many good leaders from becoming great leaders. Many mountain climbers have stood at the base camp of Mt. Everest, yet only a small percentage of them have had the courage it takes to actually climb to the top of that mountain.

Fear of the unknown. Fear of what people will say if we fail. Fear of the criticism along the way. Fear of being the only one saying “It can be done.” Fear of our vision being rejected by others.

Fear can kill our God given directive. It can suffocate our dream.

A position or office does not cause a person to become a leader. Though a person be chosen to lead a church or ministry, they are not truly a leader until they face their fears and actually lead that congregation into the places that God would want it to go. Being chosen to lead is easy. Actually leading is hard.

What defines a true visionary? Is it someone who has a lot of great ideas? Someone who sees the need for change, but never causes that change to take place? About 1 year ago I asked my wife to be very critical of me. I asked her to honestly tell me if I was someone who saw the things that needed to change and caused them to change or if I was someone who pointed out all the areas of needed change and did nothing. Her response though honest, was not what I wanted to hear.

I have determined, that if I am unable or unwilling to cause change in a given area, I will keep my mouth shut. Although I may see a need to change, I will say nothing, unless it is to spark a vision in another person who is capable of creating the needed change.

When I see another person or ministry who is successful, I go to them and find out how/why they are having success. I try to learn from them. Yet, I usually find that the reason they are having success is something I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me about in the past. I get beat up pretty bad as I realize that God told me to do this same thing several years ago, only I lacked the courage to launch into it. You must admit with me that some of the more successful people around you are doing things that you yourself have considered, only they did it and you didn’t.

Our temptation is all too often to accept the status quo. We measure ourselves by ourselves. We determine that since we have increased by some percentage point, we are being successful. However we really need to begin measuring ourselves by God’s measuring tape. Does He view a church of 75 as a success when it sits in the middle of a 10,000 soul populace? Now if that church is less than 3 years old, it is truly a success. But if that church is 30 years old, that might be another story.

The status quo is safe. It’s comfortable. Accepting the status quo however will kill a church. Oh, it will still be there, but the vision and drive that it takes to win a community, will be forever lost unless its ministry leaders decide to face the enemies of change and even their own fears.

Presently I am watching several successful churches. I am following the steps they are taking to create and maintain the revival they are having in their city. What is interesting is that no two of them are doing the same thing. What’s causing their success is that they are doing things that are radical to the sideliners who question their motives, intents, and directives. In the face of great criticism from within and without, every one of these churches and their Pastor’s have decided it is better to fight and lose than sit on the sidelines and do nothing.

For a man to accept mediocrity or the status quo is to die. He may be living on the outside, but on the inside he is dead. His vision casting days are over. His ability to walk into the darkness and know that people are willing to follow him is gone. He is no longer a leader. He may have a position. He may be the boss, but he is no longer a leader of people. When a man finds that his ability to lead is over, it is time for him to prayerfully ask God for the courage to face his fears.

Moses, there is a Red sea waiting for you to split. Elijah, there is a Jordan river in front of you. Peter, go ahead and step out of the boat. David gather up your stones, your giant is going to fall. John, though they’ve boiled you in oil and sent you to die on Patmos, God now has a book he wants you to write.

Pastor, that congregation will follow you if you boldly step out in faith and do all that God is telling you to do. They have inwardly been waiting for you to lead them for years. That church bully is really saying to you, “Lead Me!”