Monday, August 29, 2011

The pastor who cussed out the staff
Fear vs. Love Based Leaders

Dr. Caroline Leaf, in her book, Who Switched Off My Brain, writes that there are only two types of emotions—love and fear,  and every emotion is based in one or the other.   Psychology indicates this but more important, the Bible backs it up.  I John 4:18 NIV says: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."  

Love is a fear antidote.

Recently I have been thinking about this as it concerns leadership.  I've come to the conclusion that as leaders we either operate in love or fear.  People follow us, or don't follow us based on love or fear.  

Fear is a terrible way to run an organization, a ministry, a family or pretty much anything else because FEAR IS NOT OF GOD.

Sometimes people are loyal to us out of love, other times they are simply worried about what will happen if they aren't.

Sometimes people follow us because they know we love them -- we lead with love in all we do -- there's nothing manic about our leadership style, and our love entreats them, compels them, causes them to rise to the occasion.  Other times people follow us because they fear change and quite frankly verbal abuse is all some people know anyway, so staying is more comfortable than leaving.  This is why you find people who stay with ministries where craziness is going on and you wonder, "how could they stay in that for so long when that bizarre stuff was going on?"  

Sometimes people follow for sick reasons.

Some people leave a legacy behind of how they led by love and impacted countless lives.  Other people leave a reputation behind with stories of how they instilled fear in order to get things done.  Unfortunately the end doesn't justify the means.

Larry and I are personally acquainted with a former pastor (now retired) who used to customarily hold staff meetings where he would cuss the staff out on a regular basis.  Amazingly he got away with this behavior until he retired.  Don't ask me how, I always shake my head at stuff like this.  Some pastors can't so much as buy a pack of pencils unauthorized without being called on the carpet and others get away with everything but murder.  And, I bet if you look hard enough you can find a pastor who got away with murder, at least until he or she got to eternity!   No one ever gets away with anything forever.  Anyway, I digress....

This pastor would beat his fist on the conference room table, and yell at his staff and pepper his conversation with cuss words and after this whole debacle was over he would give a sorry excuse for an apology and say, "I'm sorry I was a little rough on you guys today but I need to shake things up in here a bit to show you the magnitude of what needs to be done around here."   The truth is that all that was really accomplished when that pastor retired was a great big fat sigh of relief on everybody's part that he was GONE.

What will your legacy be?  Operating in FEAR or LOVE?

Think for a minute about WHY people follow you.  Or why they don't. 

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