An article in Inc Magazine talks about how leaders are perceived. This was a study done by Maia Young, an associate professor of human resources and organizational behavior at UCLA with Michael Morris and Vicki Scherwin who are also business professors. Participants were, basically, asked whether the best leaders are gifted, charismatic or hardworking. I think there is something to the fact that there are people who can sort of light things up, versus the person who sort of grinds things out. There is an upside and downside to both. If one can generate excitement, get people stimulated, then he/she may have that certain je ne sais crois. I’ve seen that kind of person and good for them. The downside being is that person can also be kind of an empty suit (or collar if you’re talking about pastors). The guy who genuinely does the hard work, can kind of be overlooked, taken for granted. Some research has shown that the “perfectionist” is more of a procrastinator and less a hard-worker. My radar has always gone up when I heard someone try to show me how much they care because they are a “perfectionist”, even before the research I kind of had the feeling this was someone who was more concerned about making a mistake that might cause them embarrassment, then being concerned with getting the job done. I’ve seen plenty of hard-working done by someone who wasn’t terribly concerned about looking pretty, but getting the job done.
“The findings seem to suggest that leaders should keep the nitty-gritty details of their jobs under wraps.” (J.J. McCorvey Inc Magazine Oct 2011 p 28). I would agree with that, an old Coast Guard axiom “the world doesn’t care about the labor pains, they just want to see the baby.” Lots of times we had to “gerry-rig” things in order to make something work, do the rescue, effect the arrest. It took extra time, work and creativity, and was often something that wasn’t pretty, but it worked. It might have been just enough to get to someone in time or prevent violence. I think a lot can be said about that in terms of ministry. There are people in ministry, who seem to be more concerned about the looking pretty, versus the actual content (ok, I guess this is my way of saying “look at me”). Yea, this is another shot at the Joel Osteen sort, put in a lot of work on the aesthetics, not so much on the content. Osteen was a salesperson (nothing against salespeople, been there/done that, myself). But I also got the education, did the work, spent the time, and money to get a degree, did as much as I could to learn to be a seel sorger a “soul healer”. Is it really about making God so user friendly? Or is it about doing what God leads you to do to be a true disciple, someone who is genuinely looking to be led and grow in Christ?
Yea, there is hard work in doing the glitzy and I shouldn’t use this as an excuse to not try to up the pizzazz in what I do. Having said that, and yes, I guess I am stacking the deck a little, but is it about someone who is interested in your spiritual health, or someone who is perceived to be more charismatic, puts on a better show? Other than “it puts butts in the pews, (or actually theater seats which is more the case for most of those ministries), can anyone really make the case for how the “charismatic/showmanship” really makes us more fit for the Kingdom?
Jesus said: “Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 ESV). Putting the hand to the plow seems to mean “doing the hard work”, “looking back” seems to mean relying more on the superficiality of the world. As for me, I’m putting my hand to the plow. But at the same time, will work harder to make it more fun. So let me know.
Our “Coffee Break Bible Study” is on Wednesdays, 10am, corner of W King and Beaver Sts in downtown York. Park behind the church. And by the way, I know this may be kind of an odd hour, always looking for input, if there is a better time/place for doing these kind of studies, (we’re doing Gene Veith’s book on taking Jesus into the workplace), please let me know, I’m really looking for input and how I can better fill people’s schedules.