Most leaders don't intentionally do it. It just happens. The shift is so subtle that we hardly even notice it until the signs appear that we've lost touch with the people that we lead. Over time...
- We stop thinking about how we can help them reach their goals and start focusing on achieving our goals.
- We stop looking at what's best for our people rather than our next pet project.
- We stop considering the needs of our people in exchange for keeping up with the latest trends.
Every leader is guilty of it. I've done it many times! And the only real remedy comes when I admit that my ideas, goals, and expectations are out of step with the people I lead. As I apply this to the local church, here are some ways to know if your leadership is getting in the way of building authentic church community:
- You start using the word they more than we.
- You stop seeking insight from key lay leaders, volunteers and givers.
- You change direction faster than you can articulate a new vision.
- You are at the center of your vision-casting instead of the community.
- Your explanation for a lack of participation is that "the church" has a commitment problem.
Do you see the common denominator here? It is possible that the greatest obstacle to engaging a broad base of people in your church in authentic community could be that you've lost touch as a leader with the people you are, in fact, leading. The spiritual temperature of any congregation can be measured by the attitudes of its leadership.
What other signs would you add to the list?