Here to There (With People)

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I’ve always heard it said that leadership is moving people from here to there.

I agree. Leadership is about seeing a vision of what’s possible, making a case for why an organization, church, business, or group of people canNOT stay here, and leading people to the vision of THERE.

However, there is a dark side I’ve seen play out too many times: It’s possible to achieve a vision while leaving people in your wake. 

In the name of a vision and moving people here to there, it’s quite possible to plow the very people you are called to lead along the way. Leave them in your wake. Crush their spirits. Use them, abuse them, and move on without them.

Sure, there are always a certain percentage of people who simply will not come along for the ride from here to there. Usually, they’ll self-select. They aren’t interested. They don’t have what it takes. They don’t have the skills or talents to keep up. Maybe, they just don’t believe in the vision.

But, there are a number of organizations, businesses and even churches who will do whatever it takes – even if that means leaving people in their wake – to achieve a vision.

That’s why, my personal mission statement is this: Lead people to achieve a God-inspired, compelling vision together.

Personally, I don’t want to be a leader who moves (X) from here to there without people. God has called me to love people, and I want to lead those people with a self-sacrificing love.

Trust me, this is not easy. It’s not easy to place love above the vision. I’m an achiever. I want to accomplish. I will, if not careful, leave people in my wake in the name of a vision.

But that’s not who I want to be. I don’t want to plow over people. I want to till the soil, prepare it, plow away the obstacles so that the very people who I am called to love and lead have the ability to follow closely behind. I want to lead people to achieve a God-inspired, compelling vision TOGETHER.

Leaders: Don’t leave people in your wake. Sacrifice for them, clear the way, and make it easier for them to follow. But always make sure you do it together.

What To Do When Passion Comes Unhinged

I was born with a passion chip. Some part of my genetic code gets riled up under certain circumstances.

I relate to Peter when the guards came to take away Jesus. Peter’s passion DNA started firing on all cylinders: “Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave.” ‭‭John‬ ‭18:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It’s safe to say passion overrode his system and he acted in anger, maybe even sin. A verse later, Jesus rebukes Peter, tells him to put his sword away, and heals the man’s ear.

Even though this feels like a righteous passion, a holy discontent, his response was still corrected by Jesus. His passion became unhinged.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been Peter in this situation.

Sports: I plowed a few catchers in baseball, got in more than my share of scuffles in sports, punched a wall when I was 15 during a basketball game, and threw my helmet more times than I can remember. The passion was there because I wanted to win. Still righteous, but unhinged.

Family: As a husband and parent, I’ve reacted in anger more than a few times. Passionately wanting the best for my marriage and my kids, but this passion can come unhinged and I may slice off a few ears in the process.

Ministry: Now my calling is ministry, to reach people for Christ, and to build the local church. My heart beats passionately, and like Peter, this passion can become unhinged.

When it does, I try to remind myself of two things:

1. God created the heavens and the earth and spoke the world into motion. He chooses me – humanity – to carry out his mission on earth, but he doesn’t need me any more than he needs himself.

Reminding myself that God is God causes me to breathe and reflect. Before slicing off an ear, I need to remind myself that God is still working. I may not understand or like it, but that does not necessarily mean it’s not what God wants to happen.

2. Do not sin in anger or passion. Passion is not a sin. Even an angry passion is not a sin in and of itself. However, our response is key. What we do with that passion. How we respond. Where we place it.

When the passion does overload and becomes unhinged, be quick to apologize. To others. To yourself. To God. 

Is there a time to potentially slice off an ear (figuratively speaking, of course)? I think there is. Defending the widow, the orphan, the outcast, the helpless, and defenseless. Carrying out the greatest commandment: To love God and love others. When the mission goes haywire. Sure, there are times when passion needs to boil to the point of becoming unhinged. But only to the point.

Today, I’m reminded that God is in control, that he breathes and the world moves, and to not sin when the passion boils. But I’m also reminded, like Peter, Jesus is looking for those who are willing to fight for what’s true, good, and right, even if we want to occasionally slice off an ear.