I’ve been asked often, "What has been the greatest challenge you've had along the way concerning your leadership.”
Well, we know everything rises and falls on leadership and church is all about leading people.
So my challenges always fell under two categories: (and still do)
Me as the Leader (the quality of my leadership)
The people I am leading (the quality of their lives)
It took me years to learn that I will never be an effective leader, able to train and release others, as long as I had an unhealthy heart.
In the beginning, days the quality of my leadership was poor because I had this need to be needed. I was 21 yrs old when Verna and I got married and went right into full time ministry, which I don’t recommend at all. I was 27 when we pioneered IFC and I was my own worst enemy. My poor self worth, due to my own insecurities, constantly set me up for rejection and failure.
I get concerned when I hear pastor's say, “The ones I help the most are the ones who seem to take advantage of me the most,” because I use to complain about that often. I didn't realize that people were just responding to the subtle, yet clear message I was sending them. "You need me!"
So as long as they needed me, they relied on me and depended on me. I was important. But as soon as they didn't need me and they went on with their lives, instead of seeing that as the healthy goal, I saw it as rejection and failure.
This opened the door to a command and control leadership style and I became overly insecure and defensive. It created an environment that wasn’t conducive for training and promoting leaders.
The greatest oppression today comes from insecure leadership.
Leaders have done the same thing doctors have done. Doctors can only make a living when people are sick. That means it is to their advantage for people to need them, and obviously, preventative medicine would make them poor. It is easy to see why few government dollars are spent on prevention.
In Ancient Asia, the doctors only got paid when their patients stayed healthy. When they became sick, they no longer got paid so it was to their advantage to keep people well. They were not blinded to the need to be needed. They didn't have a crisis-oriented relationship with their patients. Their lives were consumed with keeping people whole.
Likewise, many leaders need to keep their people "sick" or in lack or at least feeling inferior so the people will need them. The leader with insecurities cannot see how people would be committed if they had no needs. Having our needs met by Jesus Christ is the only basis for real commitment. Commitment and need are two different emotions with entirely different motives.
Proverbs 4:23 AMP
Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
In the context of this proverb the word springs means "barriers" or "boundaries." Barriers are the limits we set in our life. All of us have heard the saying, "the sky is the limit." When it comes to personal potential, that phrase is more than just a popular truism.
Our success in life as leaders, or in any other arena of life, is directly related to the barriers and limits that we set around ourselves.
All of our personal limitations are based on how we see ourselves. We will accomplish only those things that are consistent with our self perception. The ability to believe we can achieve is a reflection of how we view ourselves. Therefore, the stronger and healthier our self-perception, which should come from God’s Word and His Words alone, the higher we will raise the bar for personal achievement.
The better we know ourselves, the more realistically we can see where we are going and the fewer limitations we will place on ability to get there.
Seeing ourselves as God sees us gives us an accurate picture of the real us. When we know who we really are, challenges do not become limitations and insecurities do not become boundaries.