Recently, I spent some time with some guys talking about where they are in life and what they want for themselves. And from their leaders.
None of them liked where they were both in life and in the church-situation in which they found themselves. They felt they had given their "best years" (although they weren't ancient) for naught. And they carried a sense of pain associated with those who were leading them. Although they were not a happy lot, they were honest but not angry; they were hurt but not spiteful. They expressed why they would "move on" if they could. (But most felt they couldn't because of financial and family obligations.) So here's a list of some of their thoughts regarding their leaders…
Why I can't follow you any more:
- You never communicate with me. Sometimes, you communicate at me and sometimes you communicate to me, but you never really with me. I get the email, the Twitters and the FB updates. I get the memos and even attend the meetings where we discuss The Vision, but you never communicate with me. Or hear my heart. Or want my input. You see me – I think – as a staff member and therefore a hireling. I know, you are The Man With The Vision, but I have one too. I sense that you see my value – rather than being intrinsic and God-given – as derived from my ability to carry out your vision.
- You speak of me with honor, but fail to utilize me or my gifts. At first, I thought that was really cool, when you referred to me as a great part of the team and bragged about what a great "find" I was. But now, even though you still speak of me that way, you never let me do what I'm here to do. You've somehow made me a fake. You've extolled my virtues without letting me use my gifts. I feel empty and shallow, and I think it's because you say one thing about me, but won't let me play it out in real-time, in real life. I think the greatest honor would be to trust me to do what God has gifted me to do.
- You hang out with the wrong people. And I know when I say this you'll take on that messianic mantle that you have (sorry about being so blunt) and say, 'Jesus was known for the 'wrong people' He hung out with,' but that's not what I mean. You hang out with a bunch of self-centered ego-centric types who use you and your influence to further their own cause and feather their own nest. These guys are sub-par. And they like to use you, your name and position. You need to spend some time with the no-names like me. You need to hang with the up-and-coming who aren't even on the horizon yet. They could benefit from what you have and who you are. But nobody would know it for twenty years, so you'd probably not get anything from them.
- Sometimes, you're running on fumes, and don't know it. You can't keep referring back to what you've done and what you've accomplished and still get me to follow you. Sure you were successful. But you rode the success fueled by the times. It's a new day and what worked then, won't work now. And you know, no matter how many times you say 'The Gospel is timeless,' it won't make it relevant to the situation. Just because Gospel flannel boards worked in the '50's doesn't mean they'll work now.
Listening to these guys broke my heart. They're leaders looking to be lead. They're looking for someone to care enough to mold them and help them fulfill their God assigned destiny.
I'm afraid they are not the minority.