Godly Leaders Don’t Talk Smack

By on 12-06-2012 in Discipleship, Guest Post, Leadership

Godly Leaders Don’t Talk Smack

Why is it that when things are trending toward something new, or when there is a definite need for change, there is also a tendency to take potshots at the past?

Why can’t we move forward without slashing the people who paved the way?

It went on for years in the traditional vs. contemporary music debate, among other things, and has now solidly moved into women’s ministry.

I have recently attended meetings and read articles about how women’s ministry is changing and needs to change. Valid observations are being made about young women working as opposed to staying home, or how they are marrying later than 21 and waiting to have kids until they are 30+. Agreed. It is happening and it does, or should, change the landscape of women’s ministry.

However, it does not mean that what older women enjoy or what has worked in the past was wrong. Having a productive conversation does not have to include bashing those who have worked hard to build women’s ministries, or any ministry.

Blame does not need to be laid at anyone’s feet. Life moves. It has a fluid dynamic that takes a lot of effort to keep up with. While it’s understandable that those on the front lines or those just taking leadership roles are filled with vision and passion,they also need to be filled with humility and gratitude – humble that God has placed them in positions of influence and grateful for those who have faithfully gone before.

There are better ways of implementing change than telling people that what they have loved doing is bad now and if they don’t like it, they can leave.

That is so wrong!

Jesus didn’t treat people that way (I know you’re thinking of the Pharisees, but we can tackle that in another blog). He lovingly explained and invited them to come along. He expressed genuine concern, love and compassion. It is much easier to follow someone we sense is on our side rather than is resentful or disdainful of us.

Peter describes us all as living stones. We are part of the building. Each stone that is laid is valuable and should not be torn down in order to add new stones. The beauty in kingdom building is to take advantage of the solid foundation that has been laid, in order to continue solid construction.

We must receive with gratitude the baton that is passed. Blood, sweat and tears have gone into building the Church!

How dare we treat those who have done served so well with anything less than honor.

For more than 20 years, Lyn served in leadership positions with Bible Study Fellowship International (BSF). Now speaking and writing in her new ministry, Solid Foundations, Lyn’s passion is encouraging, equipping and empowering others to know Jesus intimately and experience freedom in Him. She co-hosts blog talk radio show “Living Truth” and serves on the Human Trafficking Task Force for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

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  • John Backman

    Lyn, I really like your thinking here–and it sparked an idea (not an excuse) about why people might trash traditional practices in the face of change. The weight of “the way we’ve always done it” can lie heavy on those who need a new or different way of doing things; sometimes it’s in the cultural air we breathe, sometimes it’s expressed overtly. In any event, I wonder if some people try to “throw off” that weight by disparaging the practice itself. What do you think?

  • http://twitter.com/Lyn_Smith Lyn Smith

    Sure, John. I like the way you described it – the cultural air we breathe. There don’t have to be wrong motives or attitudes behind a feeling of weight. It doesn’t even have to be resistance that’s encountered, just comfort zones, the familiarity of history. That alone can feel burdensome to a visionary or leader. It’s all in how it’s handled. The heart and approach of the one desiring/making change is what determines how the changes are made and largely how they are received. The basic problem (and isn’t it always?) is pride. It’s the subtle difference in thinking that the new way is “better” or “right” as opposed to simply different or now more culturally relevant and effective. “Better” and “right” are what smack of pride.
    Thanks for your comments and kind words. Blessings!

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