don’t forget about LOVE
a good friend of mine tells a story of a time when he was on staff at a mega church on the west coast. They were having a strategic planning meeting and the pastor in charge posed the question, “what are the essential qualities of a leader?” Many things were said and were being written on the board. Good things I’m sure, like strategic, bold, charismatic, wise, and above-reproach…
my friend was dozing off when the pastor called on him and asked “JOHNDOE, What about you? What do you think?” Flustered yet sincere, my friend answered with “umm… loving?” to which the rest of the staff began to chuckle. His answer of “loving” was reluctantly written on the board but it might as well have been written off completely. Not quite the strategic answer the staff was looking for.
since when was “LOVING” a quality to be scoffed at? if we’re honest, our leadership priorities have become mixed-up in a lot of our organizations and sadly, in our churches. with the economy being the way that it is, if we’re not careful we can start running our shelters of compassion like financial institutions, solely concerned about numbers and strategically boosting the offering count.
i’ve been to many conferences with incredible leaders who have amazing, interesting and challenging things to say. not really knocking on them at all. however, there is a dying breed of leader who preaches on the importance and centrality of love. perhaps love is too whimsical a concept, a subject we graduate from once we become “adults”? perhaps love is too broad a term and impossible to live out?
i’m noticing that these days everyone is trying to be innovative, creative, revolutionary, fresh, and justice-oriented. once again, not bad things at all and in fact, i would say these are pretty essential attributes. however, we need to remember in our core being, we were given a pretty strong “leadership mandate” to be loving (towards God and others).
the word “love” is scoffed at because there is nothing practical about love. sure, we can perform acts of kindness and compassion but LOVE in its very nature is impractical, uncomfortable, difficult, painful and too… idealistic.
one day, we’re gonna hold a conference, and it will be all about love. no apologies will be made for holding love in the highest esteem when it comes to leadership style, direction and strategy.
hope you’ll join me in revisiting the priority to love, unpack love, and most importantly live out extravagant and impractical love in a real and “practical” world. how’s that for innovation, creativity, and revolution?
(side note: i am the first to admit that i absolutely SUCK at loving. my constant hope and dream is that i can be the kind of person i blog about…)