All of us in the work of Christ want growth. Growth in terms of spiritual discipleship, new people coming to church, new members, and new leaders rising up from the congregation.
Yet, could it be that we unwittingly sabotage that which we most desire?
Roy Oswald, in his book The Emotional Intelligence of Jesus, observed that the many pastors he has worked with tended to promote outreach until the church reached a certain size, then backed off of outreach for another internal focus. He speculated that a need for control fueled this phenomenon.
Leaders tend to lead organizations of the size they believe they can manage. When things grow too much, it feels and in fact may be out of their control. So, they may unconsciously lead and manage in a way that maintains a comfortable size.
My own experience of founding and leading a growing counseling center provides first hand learning on this topic!
Recently, some health problems plus words of wisdom that I believe were directly from God led me to back off of some projects. I heeded the advice (which was easier due to my lower state of energy).
Amazingly, during this period of less intense work, God brought two opportunities for opening satellite centers right to our doorsteps! We did not seek them out. Plus, I have consciously determined to empower other, younger leaders rather than play a direct role in these endeavors.
It’s not easy, but letting go means entrusting and empowering others to do things their way. It helps them grow and develop. Empowering increases engagement, ownership, and involvement.
When the leader involves herself in everything, operations slow down too much. It reduces initiative, because others wait for direction rather than take initiative on their own. This applies at the counseling center but also at your church!
So quit micromanaging details. We who are leaders teach, train, and equip others for ministry. Then we let them go for it, with our support and encouragement.
My challenge to you this week: pray and ask God to show you any ways in which you may inadvertently limit growth. If you want to take it a step further, ask a trusted person in the congregation the same question. I believe God will bless your reflection and provide insight.