In 1 Corinthians 9:20-22 the Apostle Paul makes this statement:
“To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law…, so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law…, so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”
This is a profound statement in our approach to seeing the gospel become a reality in the lives of many. But I believe there is also a principle here that we can apply as followers. As a follower, we must be willing to ‘become all things’ to our leader that their vision might be accomplished. Before you go freaking out over that statement, let me explain. I’ve had the opportunity to work under a number of leaders with completely different styles of leadership. Some have been ‘list guys’, some have been more laid back, some have been workhorses, some have been micro managers, still others have been more ‘hands off.’ Depending on what kind of leader you find yourself working under, you need to adjust how you work with them. To one leader you might be very organized, to another you are more laid back, to yet another you’re more creative. It’s understanding what your strengths are, but just as important, understanding what your organization needs from you to be successful.
When you put yourself in a box saying, “This is the way I work and I cannot change”, you limit not only your ability to grow, but also your understanding of who God has made you. God has created us “in His own image” and I don’t know anywhere that says God is stuck in a box. How you are now is only the tip of who God has made you to be. Honestly, if you had reached your full potential in God’s eyes, you’d be dead right now. Although you may be a very organized person, allow yourself to be in situations where your creativity is tested. Or if you have more of a laid back approach, place yourself in scenarios where you need to be more ‘hands on.’ Stretching yourself and growing is a key to not just leadership, but also followership.
I’ve given this one some thought. I agree that oftentimes (probably usually) the reasoning that something isn’t my ministry because God didn’t give me those gifts is just an excuse to not do anything. To what extent do you think this should be taken, though?
Here is why I ask. I have noticed that most people (including myself) measure others against their own strengths. Let’s use a pastor who views his ministry as a social one as an example. The pastor’s vision will probably be 98% about social activities and he will probably measure how much work people are putting into the church by how much effort they have put intothe church’s social activities. While it will probably do good for the unsociable ministry leaders to stretch themselves and implement the pastor’s vision, somebody needs to step in and fill whatever gaps escape the pastor due to his focus on what concerns him specifically.
This is not to pick on any type of pastor. I just want to point out that a church fills a lot of needs, and few pastors will be equipped to properly identify and address every single one. I think that a good pastor will encourage people in the church to at least identify those parts of the church’s ministry that the pastor may not even realize is necessary. Sometimes this will be apart from the original vision of the pastor.
Good point Drew!! I would say that you need to stretch yourself to the point that God leads you and that you are not over extended. Meaning, there is a limit to what we all can do. Giving up on something or not trying something simply because we don’t want to give the effort or because we’ve never done something isn’t a good reason. But if we legitimately can’t do it, then once you figure that out-don’t waist your energy trying to do something you weren’t created to do.
For example, if I tried to be a worship leader or a body builder, I would become incredibly frustrated. The main point in my post was to just be willing and open to try new roles in leadership/followership-don’t be stuck in a box just because that’s what you’ve always done. I hope that makes sense. 🙂
Completely. I just wanted to see where you thought the limits might be. 🙂