Saturday, 4 September 2010

Beware anyone who says to you "I'm a bit of a control freak".

I'd like to quote a friend's post from an online forum, on her experiences elsewhere. It was in a thread about leaders that micro-manage:

We've experienced being micro-managed by a church leader. It was painful, frustrating, humiliating, dis-empowering, controlling and eventually crossed the line into bullying. We ended up having to leave that church for a season. The whole episode (lasting over a year) was one of the most difficult times of our lives.

The ideal is to equip and release people into their own ministires, not to hold on to power for no good reason. The first multiplies workers for the Kingdom, the second depletes those numbers. I think it's a 'Christendom' versus 'Kingdom' issue. The Christendom model is very much about control, heirarchy, top down 'management' of believers in churches. The Kingdom model is more about flat-line ministry, a genuine priesthood of all believers, a missional approach, seeking to build God's Kingdom by telling people about Jesus and making disciples.

This is not to say that I don't believe in leaders. I do. Some are gifted at drawing out the best in people. Others are useless and even toxic. It can take years for a church to recover from a leader like that and begin to grow by conversion again.

When we found ourselves leading a worship team again after that episode, we strove to encourage people in their walk with the Lord, discover individual gifts, to help train people, give them opportunities to test their giftings, equip them with a foundation in Bible knowledge and build up their confidence so that they could each take over from us sooner rather than later. We've been trying to do ourselves out of a job. LOL!

We did a lot of soul-searching after the accusations of being 'unteachable'. Eventually, after several months of praying and crying out to the Lord, we began to believe that we had not been at fault. We love to learn. It was rather the leader who had abused his position by calling us that. It's the ultimate weapon, isn't it? It destroys a person's reputation and makes it hard for them to come back from.

Ah well, enough of that personal experience. Just a plea, please equip and release people into ministry rather than seek to control under the guise of leadership.

A mark of a Godly leader is that he'll always be looking for ways to move people up, to grow them, to bring them into a bigger ministry. His own ministry won't be threatened by people of greater ability because he knows his place in God, and is secure in that.

I've been on both sides of that camp, as a 'servant' and as a leader. Being insecure and afraid for one's position is one of the ugliest things that can take place in a leader, and has to be fought tooth and nail. Working for an insecure leader isn't much better, except you can't win by fighting and no-one comes out of it well if it's not dealt with very quickly.

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