And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.” 1 Samuel 8:7-9
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” C.S. Lewis
Here is a fundamental truth for church leaders (including pastors): the church is not for you (not really), nor is it about you. If you think about it, that is actually a rather freeing reality. That means it is not your responsibility to manipulate every outcome. Rather, it is your responsibility to speak God’s truth to the best of your ability and to love your people well…and love often means letting them mess up royally.
Most of my own best illustrations of this leadership principle come from parenting. If you are a parent, you already know the phenomenon well. There are times when a parent can see a wrong direction a child is headed and the very best way to teach this lesson is to simply warn them and then let them make their own decision (and live with the consequences). Take bedtimes, for example. Toddlers are simply told when they will go to bed. But, as they grow older, we eventually get to a point where they must learn to use their own judgment about sleep …
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12
I am pretty excited about a new series of posts I am starting for the Summer. I do not yet know how long the series will be, so no commitments along those lines, but I have a feeling the well of material for this series runs pretty deep. I will be writing about things I have learned about the church…from my Dad.
Some of you know my Dad. He blogs over at www.kencoffee.com. He recently marked the end of his 60th year in vocational ministry (read about that here). He has pastored and served on various church staffs over the course of that 60 years, but probably made his deepest and widest mark on the kingdom (so far, anyway) as a denominational leader/worker. Growing up in his shadow, it still seems to me that, no matter how many people know about me and my ministry, I will still be known by most of them as Ken Coffee’s son. And you know what? That is OK with me. 🙂
With Father’s Day coming up, I have decided to honor my Father in a special way. For the last few months, I have been working (off and on) compiling a list of things I have learned from Dad. This list was originally supposed to be a Christmas present to him, but it wasn’t ready. So now it is becoming a Father’s Day present…one that will last throughout the Summer, because the list is long. There are things about family and things about cars and things about vacations and things about finances and things about work and things about sports and things about, well, just about everything. …