Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Would you risk your safety and security?

When necessary, the Extreme Leader will risk his or her own safety and security in order to grow the business and—just as important—develop as a human being.”

-Steve Farber, “The Radical Leap,” page 27

The business world needs Extreme Leaders. The world has become “flat.” A businessman in New York has a presentation to give the next morning. Before leaving the office, he electronically sends his data to a “contracted firm” in India. While he sleeps, an exceptionally skilled worker in India, whose day is just beginning, puts the data into a top-notch presentation and sends it back to New York. The next day, the New York businessman walks into the office, grabs the material and gives the presentation. The world has changed. Businesses that try to keep doing things the “same-old-way will not survive. Extreme leadership will be required for survival.

The church needs Extreme Leaders even more than the business world!

Martin Luther was an Extreme Leader. He walked towards the door of the Wittenberg church—a piece of paper was in his hands. The words on that piece of paper would change his life, forever. That piece of paper would rock the foundations of the Christian world. Would he follow through with his plan to “nail” them to the church door? He was an Extreme Leader—and changed the world!

Are you willing to be an Extreme Leader? Am I willing to be an Extreme Leader?

The other day I had lunch with a Messianic pastor friend of mine (note: he is a great preacher and he preached at my church last Sunday-I am in Hawaii). He asked me, “How does a Presbyterian pastor find a new church?” I told him about our LLLOOONNNGGG process. I have known pastors that tried for years to find a new church. The long “call” process (church speak for finding a new pastoral position) can cause us to walk carefully, lest we lose our job. FEAR.

Am I willing to risk my safety and security (being the pastor at my current church) by being an Extreme Leader? Are you? I have two kids in college. We recently signed the “documents” for a different home (a few miles from where we currently live). I have been at the church for almost ten years (mid June). Our church has changed significantly in those years. We have transformed our Sunday worship. We have added a non-traditional Saturday night service called “Destination 338.” We have moved from committees to task forces that empower people to make ministry decisions and implement those new ministries. Yet… have I been an Extreme Leader? I have never felt that my safety and security were at risk.

The times may be a changing!

Here’s the way I’d put it: Love generates Energy, inspires Audacity, and requires Proof.”

-Steve Farber, “The Radical Leap,” page 251

LEAP (Love Energy Audacity Proof) is the mark of an Extreme Leader. Do I LOVE God enough… Jesus enough… the church enough to be willing to risk my safety and security? My love for God, Jesus and the church should give me ENERGY—and does! This love and energy should give me the courage and inspiration to act with AUDACITY as I follow the Lord’s leading. Am I willing to act with faithful audacity? My life must be a living example of that PROOF of my Love. Following through with LEAP could lead to unrest in my church. It could lead to unrest in my Presbytery (the regional governing body I that oversees my church and ministry, to some extent). Following through with LEAP could get me fired! Am I willing to pay that price? Would you be willing to pay that price?

Our church is in a crummy location. Someone is going to get killed turning into, or out of, our church property. We have people in the church that helped build it from the ground up. Relocating the church several miles north would enable us to better reach our community for Christ. Our leadership board (called the “session”) is prayerfully considering whether to explore such a move. Am I willing to “go to the mat” for this cause knowing that the health and long-term ministry of our churc “demand” that we move? God has called us to reach the greater Graham, Washington, area. Can we effectively do that from our current location? Are there other barriers that are keeping us from changing the world around us? That keep us from changing Graham?

Will I be an Extreme Leader?

What challenges do you face in your ministry? Are you willing to “pay the price” of being an Extreme Leader?


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