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What is a Leader?

Hello all, and thanks for tuning in! Whether you’re visiting for the first time, checking in on a casual basis, or a hard-core dedicated reader, thank you. I hope you enjoy what I have to say and know that I would love to hear what you have to think as well!

This post is inspired by a post from Mary, a fellow seminarian, Wartburger, and blogger. Here’s a link to her blog for all those interested. Yay for blog buddies!

The question posed by Mary was “What is a Pastor?” I’ve thought about this very question for a long time myself. Those of you who have heard my call story know that I rejected this calling on several occasions because I felt I wasn’t worthy enough to be a pastor. I pushed the idea aside with thoughts of “I can’t be a pastor because I don’t know how to…/I can’t…/I’m not good with…” insert excuses 1-473. Believe me, I tried a bunch of different reasons.

Funny thing is, that God fellow? You know, the one who was calling me? Every time I tried straying from his calling with one of these excuses, he put me on another path that equipped me with the skill/trait/knowledge etc that I had lacked. All that time I thought I was running away from my calling, but really God just kept guiding me through life and better preparing me. God never gave up on me. The only one who was doing that was me and me alone.

So now that I have accepted this calling (whole-heartedly, I might add) what exactly is a Pastor? Or, more generally, a Leader? Mary had some great examples on her blog. Even better, she commented on the stereotypical views on what a Pastor should be. Let’s just say that I don’t really see myself as the stereotypical pastor figure. I have a lot of traits that are not aligned with this persona. However several, if not all, of the individual traits (such as being caring, easy to talk to etc.) are definitely characteristics I hold.

Which leads me to the meat of this post. If so many great leaders (including, of course, pastors) don’t fit the stereotypical “leader” role, then why does this stereotype remain? Is it because the leaders are recognized as such, and are therefore seen through clouded sight? Do we ignore the characteristics that aren’t stereotypical and magnify the ones that do correlate? And if this is true, then how are the people who are truly meant to be leaders (including pastors) supposed to recognize this when they don’t see themselves as fitting the stereotypical leader role?

Perhaps it’s the undeniable calling we feel. That urging that beckons us to be leaders despite our perceived shortcomings. Maybe it’s because of the cries for help that we cannot, as caring and concerned individuals, ignore. Quite possibly we begin this path with a thought in the back of our mind, saying “I’ll just fill in until someone else comes along.” Is that not what a TRUE leader is supposed to do anyway?Is that not what we, as Christians (not just future pastors, but all called to be children of God) are meant to do? To lead others to the guidance of our Lord?

Through this process of just “filling in,” is that not where we truly gain the remaining skills to become leaders? None of us are perfect, and as imperfect people, no one is born ready to lead. Rather it is by remembering that we don’t have to be perfect and yet can lead that we are able to obtain the true makings of a leader. Remember Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Remember that later when you begin to reject that calling to be a leader. It could be something simple, like guiding someone with directions. It could be scary, like speaking out against discrimination. It could even be something you don’t think you can handle, like being called to become a Lutheran Pastor. (I wonder who I could be talking about…) But always remember that even the smallest acknowledgement of that calling can make a major positive difference in someone else’s life. It can make a major positive difference in your life.

Listen for the calling, look for a chance to lead, and as always, God Bless!

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Comments on: "What is a Leader?" (1)

  1. tamiofbrooksgroth said:

    Very nice!

    I especially liked how you talked about when you “ran away” from your calling you always were being equipped. Familiar story here it seems 🙂 It’s so interesting to look back and connect the dots!

    I also wonder if many of the stereotypes are out-dated and/or based on knowing only a few people in a given role, so of course others must be like that. I know that has I have really gotten to know more pastors and others in leadership the stereo types fade away easily as their individual gifts and personalities are made known.

    God Bless!

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