Saturday, September 13, 2014

Solitude and Leadership (Leading the Presence-Driven Church)

Seeds in my backyard

God has told me to recede. I must learn more about ministering in the background. This will allow Christ to come more to the foreground. I need to learn this at a deeper level, so that decrease becomes familiar and delightful to me. My recession can result in God's expansion.

Four decades of practicing solitude helps me with this. To some degree I have been able to live without needing attention. Yet this has not entirely been true, which is why God is still calling me to a life of increased decreasing. There is much space remaining for my descent into greatness.

Some of this is hard. Ruth Haley Barton explains why. She writes:

"One of the reasons solitude is so challenging for leaders is that the activities and experiences associated with leadership can be very addicting. The idea that I can do something about this, that or the other thing feeds something in us that is voracious in its appetite. That something is the ego or the false self, which, over time, identifies itself and shores itself up with external accomplishments and achievements, roles and titles, power and prestige. Leadership roles, by their very nature, give a lot of fodder to the ego. To remove ourselves, even for a time, from the very arena where we are receiving so much of our identity can be difficult if not impossible for leaders, no matter how much mental assent we give to the idea." (Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry, p. 31)

As my true, in-Christ identity is established in my heart, I will be free to allow Christ to have the spotlight all for himself.