Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I talked about leadership last weekend.

Sometimes people who know my background ask if I ever thought I’d be the leader of a megachurch. It seems like a funny question; I’m not sure what’s going on in my heart when I hear that. And I think I question the questioner. That’s probably not good.

Eons ago I played in a little vocal-driven acoustic group consisting of a steel-six-string guitar, a classical guitar, a violin and hand percussion. I had just become a Christian. I had been playing bar-band rock music for years before that, but as a drummer mostly. I picked up classical guitar and a little keyboards to be able to write. Anyway, some of our music was original, some was music that would be atypical for an acoustic group to do. For some reason we were asked to play at a “Night of Gospel Music”-type event. Yeah, it sounded scary to me too. I have no idea why we were invited, but there we were with our eclectic little group of freshly-saved-hippie-Jesus-freaks. Afterward, some guy from a quartet came up and said, “Thanks for coming. Your music was, uh…unique.”

Maybe that’s a little how I feel now.

It’s not like I woke up one day and thought: “I want to be the pastor of a big church.” I think I came kicking and screaming into “pastorship”. But it’s a funny thing about spiritual gifts; most of us have probably been operating in our gifts and calling for some time…before we had any official title. For instance, I realized that in group settings and after concerts I loved talking with people and watching the lights come on; there was an element of classic pastoring happening. I loved researching, prepping and delivering Bible studies as well. It seemed to me that people were engaged and responded positively. Plus, I was energized by it; it wasn’t draining to me at all. I loved seeing people think differently and having “aha” moments spiritually.

Even more, I lived for the moments of leading someone into a relationship with Jesus. In my first civilian job after I became a Christian, I had tons of ongoing conversations with people at work who didn’t know Jesus. I became the resident go-to guy for “all-things-spiritual”…and I was less than a year old as a believer! Yeah, it seemed funny to me, too. But when someone’s family member is facing surgery and maybe, just maybe, they could use some prayer…or someone is p.o.’d about the guy on Fountain Square with a bullhorn telling people they’re going to hell, guess who would have those conversations?—the hippie-Jesus-freak who loved to talk about God-stuff. Necessity trumps discomfort. And after all, they didn’t know anyone else who seemed to like talking about Jesus

You’ve probably been operating in your calling for some time. At the Vineyard, it’s always been less about titles and more about creating space for people to function in their gifting.

Everyone is different, but for me, leadership has always sneaked up on me. And honestly, the best things in my life were the things I seemed to be invited into. That’s odd because that doesn’t sound like classic leadership. But it works if the invitations are coming from God. As I said last weekend: everyone follows…and everyone leads.

By the way, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have to develop and nurture the leadership-factor. Oddly, the older I get the less assured and confident I am. That’s why it’s critical for me to find opportunities to get around people who are more adept at this leadership-thing than I am. I can’t afford to leaderslip.

And I hope my discomfort is because I’m crawling near the edges.

And listening for God’s invitations.


  1. Been tossing around an idea or two since last Sunday. Just talked to my awesome friend and mentor, Anita, about some of it. :) As it develops more, maybe we could brainstorm on it??? Considering leadership training is sort-of what I do now, I was thrilled you spoke on it in "big church". ;) I feel once a person really takes hold of their spiritual gifts, their leadership changes. The hard part, I think, is that transition from knowing what your gifts are, to then figuring out what to do with them. So yeah...kick that around and tell me what you hear.

  2. Keep on Truckin' Malvolio!

    "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em."

    --Twelfth Night (II, v, 156-159)

  3. Dave,
    Last night I was reading Revelation and remembered what you said last week about all churches having problems just as in Revelation. I'm sure you didn't mean that we are to just accept our failings as an imperfect church but it sounded a little like that. As you know the churches mentioned in the Bible were told to repent of their wrong doings.

  4. Thanks for clarifying. No, I meant that often people have an expectation of the local church based on an idealized picture of the first-century churches. And yes, the onus is on us to recalibrate, as a friend of mine puts it, as in: recalibrate or lose your candlestick.

  5. I would appreciate hearing more about God's invitations, His call, His training......Present company excepted, but we have too many self- appointed leaders doing damage to the Body. My prayer is that God would raise up true fathers and mothers, who are dead to their agendas, that are set upon nurturing His people into His great purposes.