I met recently with a ministry that is in a stalemate. It has a group of individuals (current leaders) who desire to move forward into a new era of ministry. It has another group of individuals (past leaders) who are resisting almost all change. They want the future to look like the past even though staying there will inevitably compromise the church's future.
Before I continue I need to say that building for the future does not mean that we dishonor the past. In fact, my mantra is that we must honor the past while we build for the future. If all one does is honor the past you compromise your future. If all you do is build for the future you disenfranchise those who got you to where you are so both are necessary and wise leaders recognize this.
Here is a true saying: What go you to here got you to here. It will not get you to there. No organization can stay static. All organizations either move forward or they stagnate and die. It is that simple. If you want to position your church or organization for a slow painful death, just stop moving forward into the future. This often happens when prior leaders create enough conflict and criticism that current leaders say "we don't need this" and walk away. It is very true that they don't need this. It is, however a mistake to walk away. Someone must build for the future if we care about the generations that come behind us.
One of the key responsibilities of leaders is to position their organization for a hopeful and fruitful future. If it were easy we would not need leaders. But without courageous leaders, there will not be a hopeful or fruitful future. The harder the leadership task the more an organization needs to break through into a new future. For leaders who want to walk: You can, but the very fact that leadership is hard where you are is an indicator that you are needed more than ever.
In my book, High Impact Church Boards I write this:
Leadership is an awe-inspiring, weighty calling. From the earliest days of biblical history, God has called men and women into leadership roles, energizing and gifting them for the task. One lesson shouts from the pages in this history of God’s people: When there was a faithful leader,God’s people flourished. In the absence of godly, empowered leadership, His people suffered.
Without a Noah, mankind would not have survived. Without a
Moses, the Exodus would have failed. Without a Joshua, the land would not have been conquered. Without a Deborah, the Israelites would not have been liberated. Without a David, a nation would not have been built. Without a Nehemiah, a city would not have been reborn. Without an Esther, a people would not have survived.
In each instance, God called a leader or leaders for His purposes,
clarified their assignments, and empowered them with skill and wisdom.
empowered by His Spirit. We do not just choose to be a leader; God chooses those He wants to lead.