You don’t have to be a jerk to be a leader. Sometimes it seems that we do – a lot of our most well-known leaders, cultural icons in many cases, have been, quite frankly, jerks. Sometimes we justify being jerks to our teams because “we’re the boss!” Sometimes we justify being jerks to the congregation (the very people God has us there to serve) because we’re “busy…”
I think that it’s easy to mistake trying to dominate someone for trying to lead them. Leading means to help to guide a person towards a mutually beneficial result. I say it again, leading means to help to guide a person towards a mutually beneficial result. Mutual. The great thing about church work is – if we do it right – it’s not just good for us and our team members, but it’s good for the congregation (and perhaps those visiting to see if God is really interested in their lives). Sometimes we do have to be firm – people sometimes want things that we can’t give, or shouldn’t give – or they want to hurt others because they have been hurt (and might want us to help them do it). However, Christlikeness implies loving people and caring for them – because God loves people and cares for them.
I visited a large, well-known church last year, and my main takeaway wasn’t that they were good (they were) or God-focused (they were) – it was that they were nice. They went out of their way to care for me, to take time for me, to break out of their circle of friends to say “hi,” and to welcome me in. It made me want to be more that way, because of how good it felt to be on the receiving end. It made me feel welcome, which is a good thing to feel.