It seems to me that much of what is holding a lot of churches back today are leaders who aren’t willing to have leadership cost them anything. We get too caught up in making everyone happy, which isn’t actually everyone. The everyone we think we are making happy is actually a smaller set of people in the congregation. Some leaders don’t want to get caught up in difficulty but difficulty is essential to not only the survival of the congregation but also to its eventual thriving.
If this point isn’t clear enough look at Jesus. Jesus was interested in being faithful rather than being liked. Jesus was well aware that leadership came at a cost, his very life. He calls others to follow him telling us to take up our cross as we follow. Jesus got caught up in difficulty as did Paul. This came with their calling and vocation. Today we rarely talk about either of those. Imagine if we viewed the eldership and ministry as a calling, a calling that the entire body of Christ understood came with risks. Wouldn’t we be more likely to be graceful to those in leadership rather than, instead, expecting them to not take too many risks and pretty much hold things steady? Wouldn’t those who lead be more likely to take leadership more seriously as a calling rather than a position?
The biggest cost of leadership is acting like it won’t cost you anything. Even if a church holds steady, it could have been growing and thriving. Surviving and thriving are two different things. The cost of holding steady or slowing your decline is missing out on the experience of growth and the lives that are reached and changed in the process.
Leadership can be a lonely place. So let us encourage our leaders. Let us bless them. Let us let them know we are behind them, even if we don’t agree with all of their decisions. Watch those leaders grow and flourish and launch into new and exciting ventures with the body of Christ that will come at a cost but the reward will be great!