The last few years have been an amazing time of transition for me, Paula, and our family. It is the greatest gift that God has ever given me in my adult life. I’ve been able to sit back, watch, and observe. Yes, I’ve blogged, I’ve written, I’ve spoken, I’ve married a lot of people, and counseled even more. I’ve been busy. But more than anything I’ve been observing. And this is what I’m discovering: too much of the church leadership – pastors, staff, and all the organizations that have grown up on the web – are more interested in using people than building people.
If you haven’t noticed, people are the most important thing on the planet. They’re not a strategy, they’re not your staff, they are not an asset; they are the reason you exist in your business or organization. And yet, too much of today’s leadership, particularly in the church (because that’s where I’ve been observing most) is in love with leadership as an end in itself, as well as its own voice about the subject.
The endless blogs, twitters, and other cutesy ways pseudo-leaders find to advance themselves, all sound the same: clamoring to be noticed, clamoring to be supported, clamoring to be serviced, to be published, to be enlisted, and to be booked for your next event. And while that in and of itself is not bad, the message is what, in my mind, is not worth the effort.
Get this straight. If I’ve learned anything in 37 years of building organizations and leading people, people don’t want to be used. They want to be blessed. The truth of the matter is, my goal (my job) is to build people: to bless them, to encourage them, to lift them up; helping them to build relationships, marriages, be great parents, be men and women of God; to be great citizens, to engage their world. My job is not to build organizations or buildings. The vision of The Gathering is not how can we build another building and house a few more chairs. The goal 24/7/365 every day, every week of our life is how are we honoring God, how are we serving His agenda in the three R’s – redemption, reconciliation, and restoration, all the core powers and objectives of building people.
And don’t think this is just true for churches and non-profits. If you haven’t noticed, people don’t work for money anymore. They don’t like being treated like an extra chair or table that can be put out in the hallway when not in use. People are power. Loving them, blessing them, helping them become who they have the potential to be is your highest calling.
If you’re going to be a leader, be a leader in love with building people; not a leader in love with building your own organization and reputation.