Saturday, December 09, 2006

Entrepeneurs R Us

This editorial in the current Christianity Today reflects on the aftermath of the Ted Haggard scandal in such an amazingly thoughtful way--on how the entrepeneurial spirit that drives much of evangelical Protestantism can lead to the loss of accountability. I especially appreciated and took to heart these comments:

Entrepreneurial pastors and leaders bring special gifts to the work of the church. But just as we identify the gifts of emerging leaders, we also need to engage in the spiritual exercise of identifying leaders' weaknesses. Every area of giftedness has a "shadow side"; every charism brings its own temptations. Young leaders need not only to have their gifts identified, but also to be mentored by those who understand the unique temptations that accompany those gifts.

Is our leader telegenic? That can help him communicate the gospel, but it can also turn him toward worshiping his TV image. Is he a skilled administrator? That can help him guide an organization efficiently, but it can also tempt him to run roughshod over people who get in his way. Is he a natural motivator? That can help him enlist volunteers in the ministry, but it can also tempt him to manipulate people. The larger point is this: While leaders are responsible for their behavior, the discernment process is one that can and must take place corporately—for no Christian leader is capable of judging his gifts and motives alone.

One of the things that I especially came to appreciate in the recent interview process through which I went at Covenant Seminary was how much of the time was focused on my areas of weakness, or, better, the "shadow sides" of my areas of strength. Over and again, I repeated my openness to have others speak into my life, both to help me with a sense of limits and boundaries (something at which I am terrible) as well as to preach the Gospel to me. Above all, it reminded me of the need for the Body of Christ and the Holy Spirit, not simply in the "spiritual" parts of my life, but in every area of my life--in my work as well as my worship.

1 comment:

JohnnyB said...

Your words continue to be encouragement for so many. Thank you for reminding us that being "real" is such a necessary thing and seeking Christ's strength through His church body is such an important objective to maintain. It is a struggle to remember that since I work in a professional atmosphere, where showing one's weaknesses is not a good thing, and seeking help from others is almost taboo. Praise God that He wants us to lean on Him and seek encouragement through His body - now if we just could get the rest of the world to see it that way too!!