Here’s an article I recently had published over here
We live in a society of strength. Bosses stamp their authority. Leaders have to get everything right. Politicians must have it all together. Failure often means the end for these people.
We live in culture of perfection. Celebrities feed us the perfect lifestyle. Magazines reveal to us the perfect look. Holywood profiles the best cars and the perfect homes.
Against this backdrop of strength and perfection, when it comes to leadership, we can be lured into thinking that we can never measure up.
But how about replacing the word strength with vulnerability and introducing the concept of authenticity rather than perfection?
Our communities need to stop focusing so much on strength, coolness, and perfection. Our churches should be the place where the masks can come off. Our role as the Body of Christ should be to embrace all people and to create a place where people will feel free to be who they are, whether they fit in a specific cultural group, or no culture at all. After all, it may be the only place where they can be accepted.
And this must all start with the leadership. For too long we’ve had the super-pastor, the perfect leader, or the spiritual celebrity that may help to draw a crowd but will fail to foster a spirit of openness or honesty.
As leaders, there is a temptation to walk around with shows of bravado holding our masks up that all is good in our world and that we are holding it all together. We play our silly little perfection game rather than dare admit that we have insecurities, may not be doing well, or don’t know the right answer. We all know we each have issues. We are aware that everyone struggles with something. We all have our shortcomings. So why the false production?
For those leaders who feel like they aren’t good up front or have nothing spectacular to offer; remember that shooting stars will never guide a ship in the night. We don’t need any more shooting stars in the church, or in leadership. Instead we need faithful, devoted people who are fixed and not going anywhere.
For those who feel like they aren’t cool enough; if all we do is to create or to uphold the culture of coolness within our churches or society then all we develop is a bunch of shallow people trying hard to fit in. You aren’t supposed to be like other people…you are called to love other people.
And so I’m learning to be more vulnerable. I’m trying hard to not always have the final word. I’m becoming slowly better at not always responding to a personal criticism with an immediate defence. I’m determined to share my insecurities more and allow others to hear my worries or concerns.
It’s okay not to have it all together.
It’s okay not to have all the answers.
It’s okay to have someone disagree with your opinion.
It’s okay to share your fears with others.
It’s okay to be vulnerable.
Perhaps in doing this myself it will allow others around to do the same. Perhaps our own vulnerability will help others realise that they don’t need to participate in their own false little productions. And perhaps it may allow me to be freer in who I am and who I can become.
May we all somehow discover the truth of the Apostle Paul’s words that the power of God is mysteriously made perfect in weakness. It seems that in the upside down kingdom of God, vulnerability and authenticity can actually bring about this perfect strength.