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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

12 Jan '14

Secure and insecure leaders

One of the key indicators of success or failure in ministry is the measure of personal security one has. The higher the level of security, the more likely there will be long term ministry success. The higher the level of insecurity, the more likely there will be a train wreck along the way - or a lot of pain.

The reason for this is that insecurity brings with it behaviors which hurt and compromise relationships while security brings behaviors that build long term healthy relationships. Because ministry is all about relationships insecure individuals end up sabotaging the very relationships that give them leadership capital. Secure individuals are able to build long term healthy relationships.

For example, insecure individuals do not know how to deal with those who disagree with them. They often become defensive when they perceive that others either disagree or are pressing for a different direction. That defensiveness says, "I don't want to hear what you have to say!" Which, of course shuts down constructive dialogue. A secure individual is non defensive in the face of alternate options and communicates "I have an open mind, lets talk."

That goes to the issue of dialogue. Have you ever had to negotiate an issue with an insecure individual? It can be like trying to talk to a wall. It is a one way conversation. There is no sense that the other party is open to what one is tying to communicate. This of course kills relationship. The opposite is true with secure individuals who invite dialogue, there is back and forth, questions are asked and answered and often there is movement on both sides to move toward a common view.

Secure individuals understand that compromise is not a bad thing, in fact, getting to a consensus is a healthy place to be. Insecure individuals frankly don't know how to compromise because they have a set view of what should be and anything that does not fit that view is a threat to their personal well being. Thus insecure people polarize others: they either see them on their side or against them. Even good people who disagree with them find themselves on the out list and again relationship is lost.

Because insecure individuals polarize, they are unable to seek and receive counsel from a variety of people who could speak into their lives or situations. Rather they listen to those who agree with them and therefore contribute to their sense of being right. This automatically disempowers anyone who might take an alternate view - and it is one of the reasons that boards become divided when insecure pastors start to only listen to those who agree with them. Those who don't happen to agree are simply marginalized.

Over time when this happens, those who are marginalized simply leave leadership and often the church. They no longer have a voice and don't feel valued.

The personal security or insecurity of senior leaders has huge ramifications for a ministry as a whole. Insecure leaders end up destroying relationships. Secure leaders build relationships. The first will also hurt the ministry. The second will build a ministry. It is a serious issue.