Leadership and Coercion

In order to lead, you have to have been there yourself. When I was twenty one, I thought I should lead the country, the church, everyone I saw. Why, I wondered, did others not see how compelling my leadership capabilities were?
The answer was that I hadn’t been anywhere yet. I hadn’t accomplished anything of note, I hadn’t earned the right to lead. My generation did a lot of finger pointing at the “establishment,” but it’s one thing to see faults, and another to wrestle with them, to look for solutions. I don’t know if we learned a lot of wisdom in the intervening years. I hope we learned some humility!
It is significant how the Lord leads us.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters” (Psalm 23:1,2).
“The watchman opens the gate for him (the good shepherd), and the sheep listen to his voice. He knows his own sheep by name, and leads them out” (John 10:3).
“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss,” Theodore Roosevelt once declared. “The leader leads, and the boss drives.”
Those of us who are “old hippies,” the baby-boom generation, have the church increasingly in our hands. We are now the preachers, instructors, and elders. Do we have all the answers?
Shame on us if we still think we do! Have we learned anything along the way? Well, we’ll see.
If we have learned anything, I hope that it is this; we who now are in a position to lead must still follow the shepherd!

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