This is one point that I don’t even need to preface with a story. Every leader thinks they have to have it together. Or we think that ‘togetherness’ is a prerequisite for being a leader. Some of my closest friends have heard me say this remark, usually following a down right stupid action: “Whose idea was it to let me be a Pastor?” It’s a joke that I frequently make because so often my actual behaviour is incongruent with my perfect image of a church leader. Underpinning that quip is the comparison we are all making, in which we frequently don’t measure up. But what is this elusive idea of ‘together’ mean? What does it actually look like? Should we not endeavour to understand this quality causing much disqualification…me thinks, yes!
Some would say togetherness, is having stability. Some would say its maturity. And maybe that’s partly true. But the more time I spend around leaders the more I’ve realised that having it together is more like a mirage. They may at times feel a sense of stability in life and leadership, but rarely does it last that long. There are always components of life that are terribly messy. And sometimes leaders make immature decisions, regardless of their experience! But at the end of the day they get up and lead in spite of the mess.
There is one person in scripture who we generally look on with fondness. But if we were to know Him in real life as our leader, we probably wouldn’t judge Him as competent. Peter frequently came across as emotional (a quality we don’t tend to perceive as synonymous with good leadership), unstable and immature. His impulsivity alone was almost comical. If you and I were to be on the board for recruiting the leader of leaders for this new idea called the church, we wouldn’t have chosen Peter. And yet, for Jesus no one else would do.
Of course, Peter goes on to become a bold and courageous witness for Christ. We observe many moments in scripture where He comes across as absolutely attractive and at least Jesus’ choice to include him begins to make a lot more sense.
But surely Jesus’ choice should demonstrate something else to us about leaders. There’s really a little bit of Peter in every one of us. The secret Jesus is revealing in the life of Peter, is that it’s not always who we are that God is choosing. Sometimes it’s about who we are becoming. We don’t really know if Peter became this stoic, intelligent and grounded leader. But He would never be able to credit his transformation to anything but the unconditional love and forgiveness of God. So, is having it ALL together really what it’s cut out to be? Probably not. Plus, most of our people aren’t buying that image anymore, anyway.
I have really come to love this idea I recently heard on a Craig Groeschel Podcast – becoming a centred leader. I find this idea much more inspiring than being the leader who has it all together. I’ve added the link, so check it out.