January 11, 2007

Some Just Don't Like Real Leadership

Leadership is certainly a rare commodity these days, especially in politics and the pastorate.

I saw Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid on camera last week griping, as usual, having just come from a meeting with the President. Their complaint was that President Bush was practicing his speech concerning the new strategy for Iraq. You see they figured that after meeting with the President, he would necessarily see their, always-wise and always- profound wisdom on everything and would accordingly change his strategy and his remarks.

“This wasn’t a consultation,” huffed the Speaker, “this was a notification.” Apparently Pelosi thinks that counsel given equals counsel taken. But real leadership; good leadership, does not operate that way.

I have leaders in our church surrounding me and I receive advice from them frequently. Sometimes the advice is good and helps me reformulate a plan. Sometimes the advice is ill-informed or based on wrong assumptions. I don’t act on such advice. Other times the advice I receive is neither good nor bad in which case it is up to me to integrate that which will improve the mission and ignore that which may not be inherently wrong but will not enhance what we are to be about.

If I simply jumped to everyone’s latest “great idea” I would not be a leader but a people pleaser; a politician who makes decision based on the squeaky wheel or the prevailing direction of the winds of opinion. That’s not good for Washington and it’s not good for the Church.

And maybe that is why so many churches never really go anywhere. Pastoral leadership is, too often, really pastoral followership following the “powerful” the “wealthy” or the chronically cranky of the church. Corporate America has a word for such a leader—unemployed!

When I think of how tough it is sometimes leading people to places they don’t want to go because I know it is right—it’s hard.

President Bush is human to be sure and he can’t possibly know everything and do everything right. But as I said several years ago and several times, this President is a true leader and one of the most extraordinary of our time and perhaps ever. It will be interesting to see how history plays out and remembers George W. Bush. In the meantime, he could use our prayers.


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