In HOPE

  In HOPE 6.19                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

Peter Scazzero's Gold Medallion book The Emotionally Healthy Church (Zondervan, 2003) emphasizes the emotional health of Christian leaders. You may find it a helpful catalyst for the kind of daring self-study I have suggested in this week's article.

Hope Happenings

The Da Vinci Code (book and movie) has had a lot of attention in the last couple of months. Publishers have scrambled to print books refuting Dan Brown's claims, but if you'd like a concise, outstanding, FREE review and refutation, you can't do better than Knofel Staton's excellent piece, which is posted on Hope International University's website. Go to www.hiu.edu .

 

Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831

 

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Whose Agenda?

"Leaders who ignore their interior reality often make unwise decisions that have grave consequences for the people they lead. Often they're completely unaware of what's driving such decisions. Some pastors don't realize that their own struggles with grandiosity cause them to make decisions that enslave their entire congregations to an agenda that's not God's. It's an agenda that comes out of their need to be bigger than, better than, grander than ." (Bill Hybels)

We've all seen it -- leaders driven by their personal needs for significance or glory. It happens in politics, in sports clubs, and in churches.

We've all seen it. But then, many of us have been it, too. The malady extends far beyond pastors. It commonly touches elders, deacons, youth coaches, Sunday School teachers, and leaders at every level. It draws us all in.

Ordinary achievements rarely satisfy our desire to be significant. Consequently, our need to be well-thought of plunges us into the comparison game ("bigger than, better than, grander than") as quick as a wink. And before we can say "Thy will be done," we have determined His will and appointed ourselves as royal executors of it.

However, as Hybels implies, our interior reality often reflects a toxic mix of frustrated hopes, deep hurts, fear of failure, and brooding insecurities. When we apply power and authority to this cocktail, the outcome can be highly flammable.

Daniel Boorstin (1914-2004), a former librarian of Congress, once noted: "The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the allusion of knowledge." When we know (all too quickly) that the barriers and blocks to our leadership arise from the ambitions or ungodly motives of others, we ignore our own interior reality -- to our peril. Indeed, what we think we know of others can blind us to what we need to know of ourselves. In such circumstances, the toxicity within us becomes poison to everyone around us. The result is enslavement for all concened.

We rarely have a pure agenda. Few of us have yet learned to empty ourselves entirely. Part of us still considers equality with God a thing to be grasped. Only as we do the intimidating work of looking within, will we begin to distinguish our agenda from His. Only as we muster the courage to confront the whip-cracking demons within us, will we be able to yield to Christ rather than them.

The agenda that matters most is not one of grandiosity but godliness. The journey from one to the other begins with honesty and a bravery too few people possess. Perhaps you and I can be among the few.

In HOPE -

David

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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

For back issues of In HOPE, see http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/