Before you go clicking off of this post thinking that this is going to be a typical post about how leaders in the church are supposed to act, or how we need more leadership, or that I’m trying to redefine leadership in some way, or here are the seven steps to better leadership, just stop for a moment. Because I’m not going to do that.
I read this article on LinkedIn a bit ago and it struck me. For those of you not on LinkedIn, here’s the vital information – the title is “Four Ways to Increase Your Influence,” and the author is Joseph Grenny.
Mr. Grenny complied information about leaders in the business world and discovered four key beliefs that leaders have that helped him understand why so few leaders either grasp or exert influence well. The four points are:
- Leaders act as if it’s not their job to address entrenched habits
- Leaders lack a theory of influence
- Leaders confuse talking with influencing
- Leaders believe in silver bullets
When I read that list I was struck by something – substitute some other words in place of “leaders.” Try “pastors.” That’s an easy one. It’s always easy to pick on the pastor as the automatic leader in the church and the reason why a church is not doing so well. It’s nice and easy to point at others isn’t it? Makes us feel like we bear no responsibility. But that seems kind of narrow in definition.
What if we expand our thoughts a bit? Try putting in “Christians.” That probably makes us a bit uncomfortable, doesn’t it? A bit to close to home maybe?
Let’s expand this again – how about this: Put “People” in place of “leaders.” That takes the edge off a bit. Maybe a better one is to put the word “we” or “I” in place of “leaders.” Ouch. When I put “I” in there, it hurts. But it’s a healthy hurting, if such a thing exists.
When I put “I” in place of “leaders” I have to ask myself some questions – Are these statements true? If I’m honest, these statements have a varying degree of truth to them. And yet, Christianity addresses each of these four points.
Christianity is about addressing entrenched habits – personal, societal, etc.
Christianity has a theory of influence – it’s love, forgiveness and grace. Granted influence takes on a different meaning, but there is a definition.
Christianity can often be accused of “do as I say” by many people, yet when we look at Jesus – He was the incarnate word who spoke from time to time, but it was his action that accomplished all – the word in action.
Christianity doesn’t buy into a silver bullet theory – life is complex and messy. Christianity is about relationships and people. People aren’t things and don’t have simple solutions.
These are great reminders for me that it’s not about me doing all of this. I can’t. I’m limited. I have weaknesses. Yet, I think the most important part about all this is something that have found in Christianity. Leadership and influence is not a lone ranger operation. It’s a community and in community we are able to walk with each other, carry each other when needed. We are able to receive help when needed. That’s one version of leadership and influence within the Christian community.