View All Letters


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Dear friends,

Leading can be awfully lonely and terribly frustrating. I haven’t always believed that. Fact is, when I was a starry-eyed seminary student back around ’72 and ’73, I had this crazy idea that a leader lived a charmed life. Especially a spiritual leader. My fantasy included contented people, smiling and grateful; plenty of time to think, study, and do relaxed research; no financial woes; untold energy; sermons that virtually jumped from the text, then into my notes and out of my mouth. No conflicts. No confrontations . . . no kidding!

You’re smiling. (I told you it was a fantasy.)

It’s amazing what four decades can do to a wastebasket full of theories. Today I would tell anyone thinking about becoming a spiritual leader to think again. It’s not that they’re not needed; goodness knows, this ornery planet of depraved humanity can always use a few more leaders who are Christian to the core. The problem is, it’s a tougher, complex and challenging task than it used to be.

A successful industrialist once addressed a large body of executives. Speaking on the topic “Following the Leader,” he emphasized two difficulties leaders often struggle with. First, leaders struggle with getting people to think—to really think. Second, leaders struggle with getting people to establish and maintain priorities. We all wrestle with doing things in order of importance. One of the reasons for this struggle is that we often don’t know what deserves our immediate attention. For ministry our first priority is clear: prayer.

For me, there are no other options.

It’s a matter of prayer.

How about you?

See you Sunday!