Leadership: The Great Balancing Act

by Ivan Veldhuizen, Executive Director of Converge International Ministries
Converge Missions

These thoughts were written when I was a pastor. As I reflect on them now, I realize that they still express my heart so well. This is fairly personal, but essential for us to “run in such a way that we may win.”
 
When I stand before God someday, I would never want him to say, “You could have helped 10,000 more people come to faith in my son, Jesus. Why didn’t you?”
 
My response? “I just wanted to make sure everyone was happy.”
 
Leadership is a tightrope walk. Sensitivity is needed for those I lead, but I need to make sure I’m following the One who is leading me. Yes, I need to be sure I bring people along on this journey of faith God has called us to, but I can’t coddle and pamper either. What a balancing act. And the stakes are so high.
 
I’m discovering more all the time that too many of us in the U.S. have a version of Christianity that is fairly removed from biblical Christianity. We have become so steeped in our long-held values, ideas of sin, entrenched traditions and convictions of waywardness that many times we can’t even see what the Bible actually says.
 
When we think of worship, we may think of measured exuberance and our regular allotment of our hymns, while the Bible speaks of crazy, loud, reckless worship with dancing and shouting. And when we see or even a taste of this in contemporary culture, we think we’re going off of the “deep end.” We wonder how this can be of God. The hymns, which I love and grew up with, were not even created until the church was 1500 years old. How did the church survive before that? Instead, God wants our prayers and worship to be heartfelt, new, fresh and communicated in cutting edge, personal and creative ways.
 
Being saturated with material things, we overlook passages such as 1 Timothy 6 that cut to the heart of the matter. We can actually think the church (or their pastor) is being inappropriate by urging us to think carefully, biblically and deeply about the place “stuff” has in our lives in relation to God. We can think that money and our faith should not merge, while Jesus clearly taught they cannot be separated. In fact, Jesus goes on to say that if you don’t have the money thing figured out properly, you probably are not a true God-follower. How important, then, that we face the difficult issues of money and faith head-on.
 
We like to pick on sins that are the old traditional vices and are clearly identifiable. You know the list — drinking, drugs, sex, lying, cheating, stealing, etc. When we clearly identify the list, and find we’re not on it, we can erroneously feel pretty good about our nice little selves. However, the more I grow up in Christ, I find that those sins on that list are not really the sins that matter most. Usually they are byproducts of more substantial sins that have gripped our lives.
 
Pride for instance. I could tell you story after story of how pride is recklessly destroying the church, Christ’s mission and people day after day. Such as when someone doesn’t agree with what’s going on in a church, complains to others and stirs the pot instead of seeking the Lord for his will and his way. Pride says, “They can’t be led of the Lord since I’m so spiritual and I don’t feel the same way.” Pride is subversive and lives in the dark shadows of our character that we won’t look at. It’s a monster in hiding that others can see but we can’t see ourselves, unless we boldly let God’s true light shine on those dark places.
 
When I think of pursuing biblical Christianity, it’s not a religion of tradition. It’s a radical pursuit of an authentically Christ-like lifestyle of mission, sacrifice and humility.
 
Someday, when I stand before God, I never want him to accuse me of missing the mark, failing to do my part in growing the kingdom of God. Will you resolve afresh to join me in this Great Cause?
 
I’m pressing on, Lord. And it’s all for your glory!

    Point - Fall 2017

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