As one of my ministry course requirements in seminary I had to read Dan Allender’s book Leading with a Limp. It was a great book that really challenged me to lead authentically, that is, imperfectly.
While many in my congregation would be surprised to hear it, I’m not perfect. I’ve messed up once or twice (daily). I have, in a variety of ways never thought possible, been broken and hurt by those around me.
It’s why I’ve come to love Allender’s perspective on being broken. In part he says,
[pullquote]”A broken leader is no longer driven by the need to impress people or to secure their approval. A broken leader has already known shame, so there is little fear of being out or futher exposed as a failure. This is not to say she doesn’t care what others think or is so self-sufficient that praise and delight are beneath her….She doesn’t live and die by the way others judge her.” page 73[/pullquote]
It’s refreshing isn’t it? A good reminder for all of us. Our status comes not from the opinion of others, but from Christ’s work in and through us.
My approval is not from those that I lead but from Christ’s approval and acceptance of me.
Ultimately, my leadership is not based on my strengths but on my weaknesses, for it is in those that Christ’s work manifests itself most strongly.
With those that I lead, whether in a public or private setting, whether in a group or individually, I highlight two things frequently: we’ve all got hurts (or in Allender’s words limps) and we all have a God who can work despite those.
We all walk around with wounds. Only when we acknowledge those and allow Christ’s love to work through those can we be leaders that are worth emulating. Only then will those watching us be intrigued enough to hear of God’s transforming love, his work in spite of the limp.