In part three of my not-so-commonly talked about leadership practices, I want to elaborate on another practice I unveiled last week:
"As the leader, I must understand that being the leader WILL cost myself and my family."
One of the big mistakes I see leaders make, ESPECIALLY in the church is to try to answer God's call, while not "uprooting" their family or making them uncomfortable. The problem is that I can't find this pattern in Scripture. In the Old Testament, for instance, every time God called out the leader, the family paid a price for that call. Whether it be Noah, who's family faced great ridicule as Noah obeyed God; Moses' family, to whom it must have seemed that the entire world was at odds with their husband and father at times; and Abraham's family, who endured great uncertainty to move AWAY from home and all of their relatives to obey God's call. While these few instances and many others make it clear that when God calls the leader to uncertainty and even suffering, that He calls the family to the same path, I run in to pastors all the time that aren't open to certain ministry avenues because it would mean their family would have to move away from family to answer the call. I'm sorry, but I can't find this anywhere in Scripture.
Even Jesus' obedience to the Father in the New Testament is clear evidence of the fact that our obedience to God comes with a price in our families. If keeping His family comfortable and not "rocking the boat" with His family was his primary goal, Jesus never would have left the carpenter shop. But He did.
"As the leader, I must understand that being the leader WILL cost myself and my family." It's Biblical. It's also true in every arena of leadership. If it's lonely at the top (and it is, sometimes), it will be the same for the family; If God's call always comes with a price (and it does), it will be the same for our families. So we need to stop trying to PROTECT our families from any discomfort or uncertainty AND answer God's call at the same time. We've got to TALK TO THEM about God's call and be up front with them about this BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE. THEN they won't be shocked when the going gets tough.
This principle is MOST true in Spiritual leadership. That's WHY I tell pastor-want-to-be's all the time: DO NOT ENTER THE MINISTRY unless you KNOW your spouse is called, too! That's WHY it's important that before you start a church, you allow God to speak to your spouses and unify your family in the call. They're going to pay a price. They'll be willing to endure it if they know they were called to it. Leadership is an enormous privilege, but it comes with a price. Let's keep our eyes and our families' eye open to both. THAT'S the model of Jesus!