The pastor stood on the stage, looking out over the congregation, and didn’t recognize a large group of people in the pews. New believers? No – These people had been attending the church for years.
The congregation looked up to the stage, not really knowing who the pastor was. Was he new? No – He had also been there for years.
The youth pastor sat down in her regular meeting with youth ministry leaders and looked around the circle and realized she didn’t know their likes and dislikes. She had no clue what they did for fun or their favorite food. New leaders? No – Both parties had been working together for months.
This happens all too often in church – those who lead and those who follow don’t know each other. There is a lack of relationship, a lack of compassion, a lack of love.
Without relationship, it is difficult to cast vision. Without compassion, it is hard to relate. Without love, it is impossible to lead. John Maxwell, in his book Developing the Leader Within You, states, “You can love people without leading them, but you cannot lead people without loving them.”
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, ESV).
Even if I had all the talent and abilities of being a leader, without love, I am nothing.
I’m reminded of the once popular song by Chris Tomlin that declares, “Where you go, I’ll go. Where you stay, I’ll stay. When you move, I’ll move. I will follow.”
This song speaks of our willingness to follow God in our lives. But this act of obedience is not without a prerequisite: we know that God loves us. We know that God deeply cares for our lives.
As a leader, I must love others. When love enters in, relationships are built and leadership takes flight.
Love is the key. It develops relationship. It shows compassion. It builds bridges.
Are people not following you when you lead? Try love.
(Photo credit: silent shot)