The leaders biggest mistake: not knowing who you are

20130918-115416.jpgIt is fascinating to see the first massive mistake Saul made. Although he started well, almost immediately he did something that offended the Lord. God viewed it incredibly seriously. It was stepping outside the boundaries for his leadership that God had set. He was meant to be a King, not a priest. Yet, when things were tough, and the proper leader wasn’t there, what did he do? Yes, thats right in 1 Samuel 13 we see him offering a sacrifice to God. For this sin God promises to strip the kingdom from his family and find a man after God’s own heart. The man who earlier was running from what God had called him to was now running towards that which God had NOT called him to. The absence of God’s appointed priest was no excuse. The fear of the people was no excuse.

I fear that many today make a similar mistake. Within the body of Christ there are many ways we can serve. We don’t all have to be a leader, and we certainly don’t all have to be the leader of a local church. I fear that much church planting today is done out of an ambition in a young leader that oversteps the boundaries of God’s hand of blessing on that individual. We assume that a good youth worker will make a good pastor, it ain’t necessarily so. We look for impressive individuals, the “head and shoulders” person who stands out. We carelessly forget to examine what kind of leader the person is called to be. In a previous post I spoke about two kinds of leader, the influencer and the positional leader. If someone is predominantly an influencer and you put them in charge of a church plant don’t be surprised when that plant fails.

Actually, the suggestion here is that if a person presumes upon God and takes onto themselves a leadership role that was never intended for them God will oppose them. Perhaps you started a church plant because like Saul, everybody else thought you would be good at it. Maybe you never had the conviction that God had called you to that role. Don’t think for a moment that a general call to some form of ministry in the Church is enough, it isn’t. You need to know exactly what it is God has called you to do, where it is you are called to do it, and who you are called to do it with. Very few of God’s people are called to be “go it alone” leaders. What makes you so sure that you are one?

Perhaps what God had for you was to serve as part of a leadership team of an established church, or even in a multisite setting. If you have a small, struggling plant ,and if it is clear that you are outside the call of God for your life, STOP. It is not too late. Perhaps you could partner with another church and merge your group with their congregation, or have it replanted as a multisite. Perhaps the group needs to fold and you need to get back into doing what it is that God has called and intended you to do.

Ministry is hard enough when you ARE appointed and anointed by God to do what it is you are doing. Don’t try and go beyond the boundaries GOD has set for you like Saul did. This post might save the world of pain for somebody reading it today. I pray you will be humble enough and open enough to act decisively on what you read. God is a gracious God and if you repent of your presumption he will restore you and release you to serve him in a way where his burden and yoke are light. Serving God’s way with God’s supply is a joy. Doing it any other way is a dangerous chore that can ruin the lives of your family, the people you are trying to serve and yourself.

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  • Andrew Le Roux

    So well written Adrian, and a point we all so need to hear! “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but with sober judgement according to the measure of faith God has assigned” Romans 12:3

  • Andy


    I’ve really enjoyed following your blog and reading Raised with Christ. Thanks so much for contributing to the health and well-being of the Church through your writings.

    Just curious how do you go about getting this level of confidence in something?

    “You need to know exactly what it is God has called you to do, where it is you are called to do it, and who you are called to do it with.”

    How do you know the difference between blind arrogance and humble steadfastness?

    Our church is having issues. A year ago when we started we seemed to have a very clear calling of who, what, when, why, and how… But now it’s looking like we are just outright delusional.

    When do you strike the tents, when do you keep going?

    • Andrew Le Roux

      Keep going mate, at least in the short term. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better and there can be sifting in the early days of a church plant. But if the sifting reveals that it’s not your calling, then you would be best following Adrian’s advice…. But also, get some wise advise from someone trans-local and who is actually willing to spend the time with you looking closely at the scene.