By J.K. Warrick
Much is being said today about leaders and leadership development; this is a priority in the Church of the Nazarene. The question is being asked: “How do we develop effective leaders?”
While our churches, districts, and regions are intentional in planning special events for leadership development, I would highlight the impact of those being led—those who follow.
Looking back over nearly 49 years of ministry (38 as a pastor and almost 11 in my present assignment), I have come to realize the powerful influence of those who follow.
Early in my ministry, I was serving a growing church. God was blessing. People were being saved, sanctified, and added to the church. It was a very exciting time. So much so that we needed a building for Sunday school and were in the early stages of planning. On a Sunday afternoon, a few of the board members wrote me a letter asking that I leave the church before the start of the building program.
Needless to say, I was hurt, stunned, broken, and saddened by that letter. These were my friends. They loved me. I loved them. They remained my friends, but they felt that my personality and leadership style would be a hindrance to a building program.
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At the time, I told no one. Patty and I quietly began praying about another place of ministry and soon moved. It was a very challenging time for us. It was also a turning point in my ministry because of what God did in my life as I surrendered my hurt to Him.
The point is that those who follow have much to add to our ability to lead as we listen, respond lovingly, and surrender to God both the pleasant and not so pleasant moments in ministry.
Just one more little story: As we were moving from another assignment, Alma, one of God’s best, said to me, “Pastor Johnny, I know why God sent you to Springdale.” When I asked what she meant she said, “So we could teach you how to let people love you!” And they did! Her words still touch my heart!
Over the years, those whom we call followers have been leaders in shaping me to be a more effective, grace-filled leader.
So, today I am thanking God for those who follow!
Theirs is the work of shaping leaders.