Leadership Weight Training

Leadership Weight Training

It's here.  That season of renewed vigor and determination for shedding the extra weight put on from just one more bite of grandma's gluten-laid dressing and mom's sugar-packed pumpkin pie.  Christmas feasting turns to January fasting.  Leader's know that what's good for the follower is good for the leader first and foremost.  So we work to be an example, denying ourselves the good tasting lips-to-hips spoonfuls.  We really do need to shed the weight not only for ourselves, but for those following behind us.  But wait, this article is not about weight!  

The apostle Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians encouraged the believers to live a life pleasing to God.  Paul's living example demonstrated his strong determination to please The Lord, not men.  "We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you," (1 Thess. 2:6, NIV, emphasis added).  Did you notice that last phrase?  If Paul had sought to please the Thessalonians or any others, he could have weighed them down with too much of a burden.  

Leaders juggle daily responsibilities of leading the community of saints, staff and board.  In that mix is a whole host of personalities with endless requests, strong suggestions and flat-out demands.  Christ calls leaders to lovingly shepherd the saints, but not to please them.  Too often our leadership inches toward pleasing men in hopes of taking some of the burden off ourselves.  As Paul points out, pleasing men is a burden.  A burden to the saints.  A burden to ourselves.  The more we seek to please men, the weightier the burden on all of us.  

How does a leader please God while working to unify the saints?  Read Paul's example in 1 Thess. 2:6-12.  With gentleness like a mother.  Lovingly, delightfully sharing the gospel.  Pleasing God in holiness and righteousness.  Like a father, encouraging, comforting and exhorting.  The leader who seeks to please God interacts like a parent raising a child.  Sure some days are harder than others, but the pure delight of watching a child grow and mature is much like a leader's work of raising saints to live a life pleasing God.  The joy children bring to their parents makes the load lighter.  God-pleasing leaders not only lighten the load for themselves and the saints, but also reap a harvest of pure joy (1 Thess. 2:20, NIV).  

God equipped you to carry a smaller load, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30).  Shed the heavy pounds of pleasing-men weight, and pick up the lighter load of leading to please The Lord. You may not wear a smaller belt size, but you'll most likely gain a lighter leader's heart.

COACHING QUESTIONS:

1.    How has people pleasing weighed you down?  
2.    How has people pleasing weighed down the saints you lead?
3.    What change can you put in place that will lighten the load for you and the saints?