June 16, 2011

Question: When Should We Lead? When Should We Encourage Others to Lead?

A reader asked:
One area of concern in our church family is a void of older Christian men serving in the leadership roles. It seems the default solution to this void is to ask younger men (those with wives and young children) to serve. As a wife of a lay elder, with 4 young children, how do I reconcile my husband's gifts of leadership and love for the local church (and my desire to encourage him in these areas) with my view that if the older men in the church were serving in these roles my husband would be "freed up" to be more present and passionate about life at home (when our young children are most influenced by their father and mother)? Am I being selfish and narrow-focused with my desires? I would welcome some perspective and wisdom.

What are your thoughts on leading vs. encouraging others to take the lead?

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  1. One thought: our perception of "need" can take on too much weight. It's not always our responsibility to meet every need. (In Mark 1:29-39, Jesus heals many; then, the next morning, he leaves many others who are requesting healing and heads to another town. Jesus' agenda was not determined by need.) Ultimately, God is the one who meets every need in His wise way, and it's not all on our shoulders. My advice: pray for other people to lead, pray for wisdom to know what you and your family CAN do, and don't be overwhelmed by perception of need.

  2. To the wife of a lay leader: I think you have a legitimate concern. Your family needs a husband and a daddy. But, I would caution you to guard yourself against resentment. Being upset with the older men will not motivate them to lead. Having a bad attitude will not foster love between you and your husband or your church.

    I think you need to calmly discuss your concerns with your husband. Would he be willing to pray with you each day for God to provide the leadership your church needs? Could he possibly speak to the pastor about his own need to be the head of his house and how other demands are taking away from that? I can imagine that the pastor has some of the same thoughts so he might welcome someone who is seriously praying for a godly outcome.


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