The gentle leader

As I was reading the Word this morning, I was struck by this passage in I Thessalonians 2

As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
…Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

And in this I found my challenge today…I’m a leader. In almost every aspect of my life I have some role of leadership. And today I am wondering if I am a gentle leader. There is one arena where I realize I’ve lost part of my focus in leading. Which is where this scripture lands on my heart.

I’m a volunteer leader at Elevation Church. I lead the set up team. Oh, yes…the set up team…meaning, yes, I do get up around 4 on Sunday’s to be at church at 5 to turn your average high school into a place of worship. But I have ceased to be gentle. You see the amazing thing about Paul here, that I have also appreciated from those in leadership over me is…

He gets his hands dirty.

He doesn’t just sweep in as God’s messenger and expect to be treated as a celebrity. He works hard right along side the people he’s been sent to lead. Thus further emphasizing the importance of servant leadership.

I have come under may types of leaders in my long history of being involved in churches. But the ones that stick out and the ones I worked hardest for were the ones that worked along side me. I’ve had great examples of that at Elevation. People who roll up their sleeves and jump in the back of the truck to unload and work as hard or harder than I did.

In the transition that has ultimately ended in my leading this team, I lost sight of that. There are a lot of things to think about on a Sunday morning. Changes from the week before, adjustments to make things run more smoothly, new people coming in, people needing to step down…it’s all part of the ebb and flow of a ministry like ours that gets packed and unpacked every week.

And I’ve been distracted.

I was reminded…very gently this week that I need to dig back in with the people I am leading. Not that what I’ve been doing was bad…there is a fine line to walk. But I don’t want to lead from a far…with words and directions. I didn’t like that kind of leader because they seemed so disconnected from whatever work we were doing. I don’t want to be disconnected. I want to serve with those I’ve been entrusted to lead.

So, I will…and it starts immediately. Sunday morning, dark and early, I will meet with the team I serve with and recommit to do just that…serve with them. I will apologize for becoming distracted by the responsibility, and then I will move tables, and haul boxes, and lay floor, because I want to be…the gentle leader.

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