There are 3 books that drive my personal leadership thinking these days. The Bible always has and always will call me forward. The other two are new to me in the last couple of years but have become wells of inspiration and information. They are, “Failure of Nerve,” by Edwin Friedman, and “Leading Change without Losing It” by Carey Nieuwhof. Consider this section from the subtitle “So…How Do You Stay Focused?” on page 57 in Nieuwhof’s book. I've included a comment or two at the end.
“So…How Do You Stay Focused?
It’s easy to focus on people you want to keep. It takes much more resolve to focus on those you want to reach.
Here’s why. You have to focus on people you haven’t even met. It’s easier and more natural to focus on people whose stories you know, who are paying your bills, and who are going to vote in the next congregational meeting. It’s much more difficult and requires significantly more intentionality to focus on people who are not yet part of your church. Unchurched people never fill up your inboxes with messages telling you they would come if you changed this one thing. They don’t show up to meetings with petitions begging you to be more relevant. They’ve never taken you out for lunch to explain how ‘everyone’ they know would come to your church if you did family ministry better. They don’t call saying they’d love to have you share the Gospel while feeding them, clothing them, or visiting them. They don’t send emails saying, ‘Please come help the kids who live in our subsidized housing unit.
Most of the people in the community you are trying to reach are unaware of or indifferent to the fact that you exist.”
So, who will represent the lost at your next leadership meeting? Who will speak for them? Who will advocate for the changes necessary in your local church to move the barriers that keep them from hearing Christ? Who will worry about what they think? Who will agonize over the obituaries which contain no church affiliation in your community? It feels like these days there are almost as many weddings and funerals at VFW Halls as there used to be at church. Who will grieve over the teen who never hears the greatest story ever told? Who will pound the table on behalf of the unborn who die because the born again didn’t love enough to focus on outsiders instead of insiders? Who will write letters and sign petitions calling for change on their behalf?
The more I read my Bible the more I realize someone already did.
It’s up to us now.
Don’t give up.