It is hard to lead. Leading means making decisions. Decisions mean making some happy and some unhappy. No one knows this better than an NFL head coach. They lead their team with a goal in mind – win a ring. To do this they must sit/play/cut/sign/pay/trade/release players or more specifically, people to make their team have the best chance of reaching that goal.
No one in the NFL leads better in my opinion than Bill Belichick. I admire his leadership. He made a gutsy, and for some questionable choice this week. He traded away a hall of fame receiver. He saw something in the team that needed to change and regardless of whether we agreed with it or not – he made a the decision.
Leaders in the church could learn from such a man.
You see, the moment an NFL coach leads his team to make players or people happy, he’s no longer a leader, he’s a caterer. He may as well start selling his services to local funeral homes, function halls, and bar mitzvahs because a leader is not in the business to please – they are in the business to produce.
Do you agree with the decision to trade the high-caliber, pass-catching, headline-grabbing Randy Moss? It really doesn’t matter. You weren’t in the locker room or on the team. You watched from a distance. Depending on your seating section in the stadium you might have needed high-powered binoculars and extremely honed lip-reading skills to understand what was going on internally.
Such is the life of leading any organization. People at a distance who don’t know the details will freely place their stamp of approval or disapproval on what a leader decides. And leaders will get the blame or praise depending on the matter or the point of view of those in the stands.
A leadership goal I must have is to be less concerned with who I please on Earth and totally consumed with who I please in heaven. The day to day life of church leadership demands Earthly attention with Heavenly discretion. Balancing concern for people with following the Son of God requires decisions that will turn some away while giving you the opportunity to win many more to Christ.
Leader, you must remember that few people will see what you see or feel what you feel. That’s okay. Time will test the choices of Bill Belichick, God will test yours.
Paul put it like this: 1 Cor. 4:3-4 (NIV) I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
If you’re in leadership today – ask yourself, “Will this decision please God or appease people?” The answer might radically change your organization. Sometimes that’s exactly what may need to happen.
I know this for certain, I’m not picking up my spatula or lighting my sterno cans anytime soon. It’s time to lead not for a ring, but for a crown.