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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.

01 Sep '11

The one thing your leader wishes he/she could ask you for

Posted by T.J. Addington in Healthy leaders, prayer, The heart
All of us are under authority from a leader and all of us who have a church home have a pastor. It is easy to either take them for granted or to be critical of their foibles but the most strategic thing we can do for them is to pray for them - daily. As their life goes, relationally, spiritually, in their family, marriage and personal walk with God - our lives are impacted in some way.


Think about this: ministry leaders have a big target painted on their backs by the evil one. The greater their impact the larger the target. If he can take out, discourage, distract, divert or otherwise compromise a ministry leader he has impacted all those who that leader leads or influences. Their protection is their own walk with God and the many who are willing to be shield bearers for them by praying for them. I know from my own leadership experience that it has been the prayers of many - especially during near fatal illnesses that preserved my own life. I would not do what I do as a missions leader without the prayers of hundreds who take up shields for me.


There is another reason to pray daily. Ministry leaders are in a lonely job. It is very easy to take shots at leaders (they represent the organization) and many do. Unfortunately the most painful arrows come not from the outside but from the inside. It is easy to be critical and it is painful to be the object of the criticism, anger, or gossip. Healthy leaders do not respond with anger or like attitudes but they have to deal with the pain internally. One of the character traits of leaders is that they are willing to take the pain and carry on but it does not lesson the pain. And while those who are critical can talk to anyone they choose (and often do), leaders cannot. 


If you read the books of first and second Corinthians you see the pain that Paul felt from his critics in that church. If Paul was not exempt (to say nothing of Jesus) other leaders will not be exempt.


But prayer changes the equation. Our prayers bring the comfort, peace, joy and perspective of the One on the throne to our spiritual or ministry leaders in the midst of the challenges they face. It is the greatest gift we can give them. We can literally call down the blessings of heaven on our leaders if we choose to do so. 


And what if we have reason to be unhappy with our pastor or leader? They (we) all have shadow sides, foibles, and dysfunctions. The best thing we can do in that circumstance is to pray for them. We cannot change them, but God can work in their hearts and lives. And, God might just work in our lives regarding our perspective or attitude as well. 


I live in the world of leaders, church and ministry. I can tell you that they deeply covet the prayers of those they lead. They know they, like the rest of us, have feet of clay. They know they are deeply imperfect. They know they are targets of the evil one as well as of disgruntled people who they lead. If they could ask one thing of their constituency it would be: "Please pray daily for me - be a shield bearer for me and take me to the throne of God because it will protect me, change me, encourage me and give me the wisdom I need to lead wisely."


It is the greatest gift we could give our leaders.