Where would we be without leadership? Without someone caring for us, leading the way, challenging us to step up and to step out?
Where would the church be without leadership? Probably sitting around not doing very much.
Leadership is necessary. Leaders are vital to the health and growth of the church.
I’ve had the absolute privilege of being a leader for almost four years now, firstly at Heriot Watt Christian Union then at Destiny Church as a small group leader, and currently as a student pastor and cluster leader overseeing multiple small groups.
I love the opportunity that I get to serve people, to love people, to see people grow in their relationship with God. It is awesome! There is seriously nothing like it. It is an honour.
But there is a problem that’s not often talked about before you start leading.
Well. Maybe someone did tell me and I didn’t listen.
You see, being a leader can be difficult. It takes effort and energy. It can be discouraging. You can feel deflated. You can feel lonely. There are times when you just want to give up!
It takes perseverance.
As I’ve grown as a leader, I’ve felt the highs, but I’ve definitely felt the lows.
I’ve heard leadership being compared to fighting in the trenches during the First World War. When we step up to leadership then we stick our head up over the top of the trench. So true. Sometimes it feels not only are the snipers trying to pick us off but the machine guns are rattling in our direction. Bullets of distraction and temptation fly our way.
I remember one time being on holiday just as I had started leading Authentic, our student and young adult group at Destiny Edinburgh, facing temptation like nothing I’d ever experienced before. I was trying to sleep and felt oppressed by temptation; my whole body felt like it was on fire as I fought it. Eventually I had to get up and wander about, pray and read my bible.
If you’ve felt the trials and tests of being a leader please be encouraged. That may seem weird, but go with it for now.
You’re facing challenges because of what you’re doing therefore you can take heart because you must be doing something right. If you’re doing something significant you can be assured that you’ll face challenge, spiritual attack, and temptation, increasingly so as you step up and step out.
You have an enemy of your soul, so please don’t be naïve, but take every opportunity you can to remember that the great truth of the matter is that Jesus said “Take heart for I have overcome the world.” The devil and his minions have been defeated (and they know it!) and Jesus reigns!
Whatever you face, God knows. He knew you’d face it. And He knew that He’d take you through it, as He said to Paul “My grace is sufficient for you”.
At the end of the day we get Him and He’s enough no matter what comes our way.
In light of all of this; please pray. Pray for your Leaders. Pray for your Small Group leaders. Pray for your Elders. Pray for your Pastor. They are human. They are not perfect, they fight temptation, they face discouragements and challenges; the same ones that are thrown your way and perhaps may feel it even greater.
Leaders, be encouraged, you are carrying a great privilege and responsibility. Yet we have one who carried a greater burden.
2000 years ago Jesus carried His cross and was pinned to it through his wrists and ankles, He bled and died. But God raised Him to life, and through Him, making a way for us to know His love, His mercy and grace.
We have the unbreakable promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Even when we feel discouraged, we feel depressed, or when we feel like we can’t carry on. That promise still stands true. And oh, what a promise! God didn’t have to make any promises but now that He has He is bound to keep them. What love! What grace!
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1
Keep going, keep persevering, you are making such an impact and difference that you wouldn’t believe!