Today, I want to share the kinship that comes with living for applause with you. Many of you who have been called to ministry and/or leadership are aware of the pressure that comes with power and position. It feels nice to be seen, and it’s simple to start validating and measuring your influence based on the reactions of those you serve. The issue is that by doing so, you relinquish your position of leadership and become a follower. You give others control and follow their lead when you try too hard to make them pleased.
When I was 22 or 23 years old, a guy named Richard Watts, who was a good friend of our family, took me on a hunting trip. It was then that I told him I felt called to ministry and that I was going to start working with the Crystal Cathedral’s college group. I still had braces at this point, I was super-young, very honest, and ecstatic about my calling! My friend noticed that I had a harsh, even rogue side to my personality, and he pushed me that day to never lose the “pokey” aspects of my personality. He advised me not to sand them down or discard them because they are beneficial to my spirit and those I lead. Looking back on it now, I believe he was correct — which is why I enjoy attending a church full of flawed people with rough edges!
Friend, when you make the approval of others your criteria for leadership, you’re marching straight into an emotional and spiritual prison cell. As you carry out your calling, let your rough edges, oddities, and “un-politically correct” portions appear and even shine. You will only be able to make bold and brave decisions if you are loyal to yourself and confident in God’s unique love for you. Being fully genuine and fully grounded in Jesus allows you to be at the front of the line, boldly leading others as you forge a route through tough situations. That’s fantastic news, isn’t it?