It does not matter how old a man gets. He is still a son.
Every man I have ever met has been defined in many ways by their relationship with their father.
I was speaking to a person who trains tradies. Blokey young men. Many of them have had absent fathers. The fathers that are present have told them how useless they are. That they can’t do basic tasks. Things that a tradie finds necessary. My friend has to father them before he can train them.
It seems to me this generation has in many ways not learnt from the previous one. There are many great fathers. But there are many young men with absent, abusive, emotionally void and uncaring dads.
It felt like this generation would be different. But so many dads have never grown up themself. They spend time, money and attention on games. Games of all types. From video games to four wheel drive accessories. Pure selfishness.
It has been said that the best leaders are followers.
Others have put it this way, that the best leaders surround themselves with people better than them, particularly in certain areas.
In my team I have staff who are better than me at different areas. My worship pastor, young as she is, talks to me about stage transitions and on stage dynamics. I dutifully listen, because she is more than often right. Other staff members bring skill and thoughts to bear which make our church better.
Being a listener as a leader is the biggest skill I can bring. This can only work if I am not insecure. An insecure leader cannot listen because instead they need to control. After a couple of decades in varying stages of leadership I like to think I am not insecure. I know who I am, who God has made me, and more than that, I want to be better.
Sometimes robust feedback might be annoying. But you have to listen and reflect upon this. Is it annoying because it means you need to change? We like to see change, but change in ourselves is difficult.
In a church context we as leaders are not the point. Jesus is the head of the church. And what matters most is the church. Not us. Not our comfort. This is hard to take because if we are honest we generally like to make sure we are looked after. I have seen leaders reduce their church greatly because they have made it about them.
I believe all leaders should be listeners. It makes them better leaders.
“ But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them” (Acts 5.13)
During the early stages of the church it was obvious the love and supernatural power that the church had. The Early Church spoke out against the injustice of the day. It helped the poor and sick.
Imagine being a church where we were known for Gods power and love flowing through us in such abundance that the culture and world around us saw and recognised God was at work. We were well regarded. Even if they are to afraid to join.
Preaching is invoking images of bright colour to someones heart and mind using just words.
All of us play the comparison game at some point. This is no less true of Pastors and Church Leaders. How often do I find myself checking out the website of another church to see what they are up to. If it fits my paradigm, if their style is on point, their music is relevant, their carpark is full.
It would not be hard for the carpark at my church to be full. Its not that large!
But in another way and perhaps more seriously, I sometimes find myself comparing myself to other leaders, particularly in the area of what they have achieved in a certain amount of time. Recent events with some high profile church Pastors remind me that quick spectacular success is not as appealing as what it appears. The dysfunction seemingly required in some ministries is a price I am not willing to pay.
My mentor reminded me that I need to lead out of the storehouse God has given me. I might put it that I need to lead with what God has placed in my hand. I like to think I can speak well. I like to think I lead with compassion and understanding. I wish I was more focused and strategic. Sometimes it seems I have led by accident, based on a ‘gut feel’ of what God is saying rather than a ten year carefully formulated plan.
Then there is the intangibles. God’s favour. Blind luck. A perfect storm of circumstances. These things provide growth and favour which cannot be manufactured.
Who am I? What do I lead out of? Well I love the gathering. I sense the atmosphere with some sense of accuracy. I know what works. What ignites my joy is seeing people engaged with God, hearing His voice and responding to the Spirit. I am confident in my ability to discern people. All these things are not necessarily or exclusively human. They are gifting from God.
I am not someone else. I am me. Out of this I seek to lead. This does not excuse me from needing to surround myself strategically with others who can resource what I can’t. I pray I am thankful for who I am, thankful for who others are, and faithful and fruitful with the time I have.
Chronos: Passing of time
Kairos: Divine moments
There is a sense that the older a Christian is the more mature they have become. Not necessarily. Time does not mean someone will become more Godly. Phillipians 1.6 says God has begun a good in work in you and will continue that….But that wont just happen.
Some of the most ungoldly people, selfish, unyielding people you can meet are those who call themselves Christian and have been for decades. Some of the most godly mature and wise Christians are those who have had God begin a good work in them in recent times.
What does make us more like Christ? Kairos moments, moments when the divine breaks into the earthly and we encounter Jesus. The Spirit speaks, challenges, inspires and refines. Chronos, the mere passing of time, means little without the Kairos.
Imagine though if you have many moments of Kairos. Many moments of God encounters. Daily moments of hearing from, being inspired by and refined by the Spirit. Such a luxury may only be afforded to you by the Chronos that God allows you. That sort of person may indeed be the most blessed. Becoming more like Jesus, every day, as we wait for the day of Salvation.
Recently I came across this video from Cold Chisel.
The lyrics are not edifying. Let me say that first up so please don’t be offended. The video was posted by Cold Chisel themself and is featured in their live concerts.
It is probably the most popular Australian Rock song of all time by a seminal group. Most Australians could sing along to at least part of this song, but getting the lyrics exactly right could be a stretch. Its the highlight of any Cold Chisel concert, and its basically a huge sing a long where the band and Jimmy play lead conductor. Bit like a contemporary worship service actually!
Which brings me to my point. Note how the lyrics are displayed. One or two sentences, moving backgrounds, emotive, warm, encompassing, contemporary. Better than most. An example of how sometimes contemporary culture is doing it better. A challenge for the church would be getting the timing just right in order to use such a medium. So often our lyrics are displayed more statically, and we like to have a sense of freedom, where if we want to do the chorus twice, we will! But I am sure we could get around that somehow.