Church Leadership

If you don’t want to play with the big boys…

Photo by Callan Christiano via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Stay on the porch.

I remember my mom saying this when I was a kid. One of us would come home crying because we got a bloody nose or a scraped knee from playing 2-hand-touch football or 21 in basketball, and she’d just kind of sarcastically say, “If you don’t want to play with the big boys… stay on the porch.” I think she said it with a smile– but the message is still the same.

Getting roughed up is just part of life. When the kids come to ask who wants to play– the wimps stay home and play inside.

The same is true for church leaders today

I’m 34 years old. I’m not getting any younger or more energetic from here on out. Welcome to middle-age, baby.

I know a whole lot of people who work in churches who are about 5 years above or below me. They have all the education and experience they need to lead their churches from the mire they find themselves in. And yet they sit on the porch like little brothers. “I’m not on the board.” Or “I’m not the lead pastor.” Or “I don’t like conflict.

They levy excuses like, “I could never say things like you say and keep my job.” Or “I really admire the stand you take on ____.

If you are 29-39 years old… welcome to the prime time. If no one else is saying it to you, I will: This is your opportunity. Everyone is waiting for you to do something. If you need permission… it’s not going to happen. Make your own permission!

I’m tiring of people who are sitting on the porch, waiting to get in the game, being told that they don’t have quite the correct age or position or rank to do anything significant.

That’s a lie from the mouth of the devil. Wake up! Game on!

Leaders lead people to where they would otherwise not go on their own. Period.

Leaders don’t sit on their hands politely and bide their time waiting for someone in leadership to bestow on them magical powers to lead. They lead. It is who they are more than a position they hold.

In other words, they see that getting your nose bloodied here and there is part of playing with the big boys. That may mean you get fired. So what? That may mean people say mean things about you. So what? That may mean you might have to stand down a group of older men/women in charge. So what?

At least you got fired doing something. It’s better than getting fired for doing nothing.

The power to change things is rarely given to you by sitting back and being patient. Just ask Prince Charles how well that is working for him. Power is taken. Power is awarded. But power is rarely given to really good middle managers.

And the secret is that the people in power are waiting for you to stand up to them and take it. How else will they know you are ready to lead?

Sitting around on your hands and watching the big boys play until you are viewed as old enough is just going to result in your doing nothing another year. Stop sitting in your corner, reading another Christian leadership book, and get in the game.

Your community is dying because of your passivity.

Today is the day. Now is the time. Lace up and get in the game.