Leading vs. Being in Front

I was driving home from work about a week ago and a thought came to my mind.

“What is the difference between leading and being in front of a group of people?”

I know that there are probably many different ways of answering that question. And I am not about to pretend that I have the final answer on this question. To be honest I am not even sure why I had this thought come to mind other than to say that God put it in there. So, taking that for what it is, this is what I believe God’s answer to me was. The difference is purposefulness.

This is more specific than purpose because you can be out front choosing the direction, but that may not mean that there is an end in mind. We can become so used to the idea of enjoying the journey, that we fail to recognize that the journey does have an end. All of this will come to an end. There will be a moment in time when we will no longer be about “smelling roses” but will finally get to “pushing up daisies.”

Over the last several years I have tried to become more intentional about what I am doing in and for the kingdom of God. I am not here to just share some platitudes or make people more comfortable where they are. This does not mean that I am trying to be difficult. I want to be challenged to do more, to go further, than I have ever gone before. I want to see and be a part of great things. Not for my own sake, but for the sake of God and his glory.

By the grace of God he called me to be a pastor. I have not always appreciated what this meant. I have struggled to do it my way. I have made a mess of things because of this attitude, and I still do (I just hope lest frequently). In spite of my shortcomings, I have seen God do some amazing things. I have witnessed transformation and renewal.

As of late, however, I have realized that many of us in professional ministry have not taken ownership of what God is calling us to do. It is not enough to be out front. It is not enough to have the title without also taking hold of the responsibility. Another way of talking about this would be to ask a simple question:

What is the vision that God is asking you to fulfill?

What is it that God has put inside of you, that you need to see through to the end? I have been grappling this with this question. While it is possible that the ultimate vision is the same, the way that we accomplish it will be as varied and as unique as the ridges on our finger tips. God made us unique, and that uniqueness cannot be stripped from us as we go into the world.

I want to be a leader worth following. My heart yearns for the ability to help others find their way to Jesus. But, in order to do that I have to accept that fact that what God has put inside of me must find its way out of me. Leading is dangerous because there will be those that do not agree with what you are doing, how you are doing it, or why you are doing it. There are many who would not even venture into some of the places God has placed on your heart, but that should not matter. We go were the spirit leads. We go because that is where are hearts are being pulled.

Being a leader is not about popularity. Leaders go where no one else has gone. Leaders are usually alone because the risk can be too much for others. The risks of leadership are not careless or impulsive. Leaders should give careful thought to what they are doing. To chose a path is to own the effects and result, whether good or bad.

Which are you? Are you leading, cutting a new path? Or are you just in front glad to have a better view.

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