Friday, November 30, 2012

Leading Up - Suffering Hope

Leading Up: Finding Influence in the Church Beyond Role and Experience is officially releasing this week on December 1. I'll be sharing some of the concepts and tools from Leading Up each day, as well as some new material not found in the book.

Today's concept: suffering hope
Photo credit: Alex E. Proimos
What happens when leading up still doesn’t work?

There is an aspect to suffering in leadership that is not often addressed in most leadership literature. They offer formulas and ideas and tools that will surely make you a better leader. But we know that this sort of linear and formulaic thinking doesn’t work in real life.

In Romans 5, the apostle Paul makes a startling paradoxical statement that has huge implications for church leaders:

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

For Paul, suffering leads to hope. It produces perseverance and character, and this causes us to rejoice out of the love that God has poured into our hearts. This steadfastness and integrity in leadership can only come from a complete trust in the God who loves us. We are to ultimately be guided by the Holy Spirit, not by leadership principles found in a book.

Leadership in the church entails suffering. I don’t want to lie to you; being in church leadership is not all fun and games. You will suffer long nights of wondering if your vision is even from God. You will suffer frustration at the hands of bureaucracy and church politics. You will suffer from people who question your authority and leadership capacity due to your job description, age, gender, or experience. You may suffer the pain of being fired. You may suffer from broken relationships and a deep doubts about the goodness and faithfulness of God. Remember that this suffering has the power to transform your character, to allow you to become an even better follower of Jesus, which will in turn make you a better leader in the church. 

Invite Christ to enter into the suffering with you. In Psalm 23, the Divine Shepherd leads the sheep through the valley of the shadow of death - not around, not away from, not over, but through the valley. On the other side waits green pastures and quiet waters and a calm rest of the soul.

You can buy Leading Up at The Youth CartelSimply Youth Ministry, or

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