19 February 2007

The Guts of Leadership

Mark Batterson wrote a book titled, In a pit with a lion on a snowy day. He, recently wrote an article based on it for the Catalyst blog.

I recently shared this article with some of our leaders. It is very challenging, but so necessary for the church to thrive in the future. Here is some of the article...
Benaiah chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it. (2 Samuel 23:20)

Doesn't it seem like Benaiah is choosing his battles poorly? It's too risky. It's too unpredictable. It's too dangerous. But Scripture doesn't say that Benaiah was a prudent warrior. It says he was a valiant warrior.

Lion chasers don't try to avoid situations where the odds are against them. Lion chasers know that impossible odds set the stage for amazing miracles! Those are the experiences that make life worth living. Those are the experiences worth telling stories about.

The church needs more leaders with the spirit of Benaiah.

From the time of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. (Matthew 11:12)

There is nothing remotely passive about following Christ. Faithfulness has nothing to do with maintaining the status quo or holding the fort. It has everything to do with competing for the Kingdom and storming the gates of Hell.

One of the dangers we face in leadership is this: at some point in our leadership journey we stop playing offense and start playing defense. We stop doing ministry out of imagination and start doing ministry out of memory. We stop creating the future and start repeating the past. We stop chasing lions and start running away from them.

So here's a reminder: The greatest regret at the end of your life will be the lions you didn't chase!

Make this your Manifesto:

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop criticizing and start creating. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilacs. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Laugh at yourself. Keep making mistakes. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. And remember: if God is for us who can be against us?

The church needs more leaders with the spirit of Benaiah. Why is it that at some point we stop playing offense and start playing defense? Why is it that we end up running from the lions that God has called us to chase?

I love the manifesto: stop playing it safe and start taking risks; worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks; our purpose is not to arrive at death safely!

When will this sink in? Why are there so few lion chasers? Why are so many people I know more concerned with what people think than what God thinks? How is it that we have moved down this road and come to this place?

I can't begin to imagine what the church might look like if we would chase some lions.

A lot of questions, I know, but I do know this... I will be chasing some lions! So, Look out lions, here I come!


Anonymous said...

oh, brother...

Erik said...

Dear anonymous, from your comment, I am concluding that you aren't interested in lion chasing. Sadly, those that aren't pursuing lion chasing won't really understand this. I truly hope that you can make a life changing decision find God's best for your life. Feel free to email me sometime I would love to talk with you.

Dad said...

Why in the world would someone go to the trouble to post their "oh, brother..." comment anonymously?
Come out, come out...who ever you are.

ro.duh. said...

ahh..... i can't help but lol. really. i just lol-ed.

come on lions. here i come! i'd say i have lion traps in my pocket, but that actually might hurt.

pushCHICK said...

I think Lassie can help us find that anonymous person!!!!

Read J's blog......

a positive anonymous said...

How encouraging is that post! Thank you, Erik, for that challenge. You seem to get a lot of harsh, rude and inappropriate posts from anonymous people. While I'm not sure why they do that, just know that not all "anonymous" people are against you. We love you and support you and are praying for you and your family. I am going to print out that manifesto and keep it in my wallet. I choose to be a lion chaser. I don't want to arrive "safely" at death.

The Letter J said...

i think the clue to anonymous is in the post. i think anonymous is eriks brother!