Earlier this year I encountered two extremes in this regard.
First, there was a person that I worked with who clearly saw herself/himself as a gift and mentor to everyone in the room. Unfortunately that level of grace was not accompanying his/her ministry. This person clearly had an inflated view of his/her own ministry role and authority. This person appeared to be quenching the Holy Spirit and the atmosphere in the meeting – by assuming a role she/he didn’t have.
Next, there was a person who walks in a great grace of ministry and who seems to be almost oblivious to it. This person sees herself/himself as significantly inferior in gifts and calling to the other people in the room. But in reality the ministry deposit in this person is way above average. This person may be quenching the Holy Spirit by not accepting the God-ordained role she/he has.
Humility is neither overly appreciating or depreciating the work of God in your life! It is not humility to claim a role you don’t have or to deny the work of God’s grace present in you. Someone once said,
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”
We all need to come to terms more and more with exactly who God has made us to be and is making us to be. It’s important to not think more highly of ourselves than is warranted – but also to not think more poorly of ourselves than is warranted.
I think one of the most overlooked qualities of true spiritual leadership is an accurate self-awareness. Here’s why I say this.
The effective leader DOES NOT have to be:
1. The smartest person in the room or on the team.
2. The most gifted person in the room or team.
3. The most creative person in the room or team.
4. The most organized person in the room or team.
But to be effective the leader DOES need to be:
1. One of the most teachable persons in the room or team.
2. One of the most emotionally honest in the room or team.
3. One of the most self-aware in the room (in terms of strengths and weaknesses.)
4. One of the most “secure-in-Christ” people in the room.
The effective leader has learned to discern God’s grace, and the gifts and wisdom that others have, and is secure enough to create space for them. This clearly involves being willing to receive input and even correction from the team or the people in the room. You don’t have to be the most competent or creative. Just be able to recognize competency and creativity when someone has it! And then of course to intentionally make room for them.
May the Lord help each of us to escape our leadership and character blind spots – for we all have them. And God help us to become more secure in Christ so that we can humbly help empower others to function in their gifts and callings. Amen.