After our discussion this morning, I found myself meditating and thinking about the compound word leadership. Leader + ship.Of course the picture in my mind was of Columbus and the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. I mused that if I were asked to follow Columbus on a journey to the new world, I would first have to know that the captain of the lead ship was an experienced sailor, able to navigate uncharted and dangerous waters and able to keep me safe! It would be paramount that he was someone who was experienced – someone of proven character and skill – and someone who inspired me to follow – a man of vision and courage.
I think that the training of a great sea captain must involve years of selfless service: learning to navigate in fair and foul weather – weathering sudden and violent storms and keeping the ship off of the shoals and rocks. It seems to me my dear brother that you are just such a man! A man who is now under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit. Where others seem to get deliverance, you learn to endure pain – long suffering. Where others can see the way, chart a course, devise a plan, and simply execute it to achieve their objectives (success) – you tack around in the fog, giving it your all and yet you seem to fail over and over again as you sail through the storm unable to even see the way out. You stumble around as a blind man and cannot see the final destination on the horizon because it is your lot to learn to walk by faith and not by sight.
The Life of a Emerging Church Leader
Where others may charge ahead like a bull in a china shop with gusto and boundless energy advancing from glory to glory, you seem destined to plod along fighting doubt, fear, darkness, and unbelief every painful step of the journey – for you must learn endurance. Others pray and wait (not long) and then see the promise realized – the object of their prayers seems to materialize out of thin air like a glass in a replicator. You, however, pray, groan, moan, wrestle, and weep unable to see or lay hold of the object of your supplications. Often in utter exhaustion you just give up and in your despair you helplessly watch as others receive and enjoy their blessings, and then they move onward and upward leaving you behind: for God must work patience into your soul.
Where others are recognized for their gifts and efforts and go to the head of the class where they are accorded honor, endless thank yous, and gratitude: you are ignored, overlooked, used, abused, maligned, and even exploited. Often you find yourself sitting alone in self imposed isolation fending off the growing darkness, feeling empty, used up, and forgotten. Yet, in so doing, you are blessed to be counted worthy to be in the company of the man of constant sorrows.
All this and more is part of your training and not just your education; for God is working into the very fabric of your life those precious qualities of true leadership and of heart which only a scarce few possess. He is endowing you with strength of character and a heart of compassion that causes others to be drawn to you like a moth to a lamp, because, like our Lord, you understand the feelings of their infirmities.
I want you to understand that laying down your life for His sheep does not mean simple martyrdom (as we would understand it) but enduring all things, i.e. loneliness, suffering, hardships, privations, temptations, hurt, scorn, ridicule, and rejection. All of these are specifically tailored just for your growth in truth and holiness so that when this process is completed – in His time – you will BE His witness! As a result, you will not have to try to lead others, but you will BE a leader whom others will be drawn to follow. Your ministry, your service, will be divinely powerful because the truth which you share with others will not be intellectual isms or pious platitudes but will be steadfast – divinely powerful – having been forged in the crucible of your life. You will not just overcome, but you will BE an overcomer.
When His work is completed in you, then the wind of the Spirit will blow upon the sails of your ship and you will be carried far and wide as He wills. As you glance back you will be surprised to observe that many other ships have chosen to follow you on your journey to the new world!
I’m blessed to know you and to call you my friend. I rejoice in the work of the Lord in your life. I love you and highly esteem you in the Lord. Many are called but few are chosen!
Your Brother in Christ