Over the last few weeks there have been moments in and out of work when I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy. Am I up to the task? Can you teach an old dog new tricks?Can I keep the pace? Do you ever feel like that? But it’s only when we totally give up that we are beaten.
This week I had a message from a former colleague. Another chap we worked with, who is a few weeks younger than me, is retiring. Meanwhile, a former planning assistant in our team has just been appointed as Policy Manager at a large unitary Council. She is in her mid 30’s; a born leader and will do a great job. Both have made me think of how to do the best I can, as a 60 year old, with the level of energy and abilities I still have.
Outside work I have been thinking about a role that has responsibilities and what that means. Looking at what Jesus said about leadership has really struck me; that it’s not about feeling important because of a position or lording it over people but serving them and enabling them to be the best that they can be.
Why so much about leadership and abilities? Because in so many places in the world church leaders are uneducated, can’t get proper training and are desperately poor because the people they serve are. Or in other places they are seen as community leaders and bear huge responsibility. And pastors are often targetted by governments and terrorists on the principle that remove the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.
In Iraq I met a priest who had been shot in the legs and then kidnapped. In Vietnam, a pastor with little education or money, working his land while trying to care for many desperately needy people. A minister in Syria who had a great ministry but lived with death threats. A leader from Central Asia who had been arrested on false pretences. Others whose children are attacked just because of their parents role. Real stories of real people. The list goes on. Those who are using their abilities the best they can and for whom leadership comes at a cost but they do it because they care.
Pastor Abdalla in Syria has seen many of his congregation flee and fighting damage his church but he has stayed. He has a vision to make a difference, to bring hope. Your gifts help him and others make a real difference in some hard situations. Will you help make a difference? Thank you.