“Unless you have perfectly conventional beliefs, it’s rarely a good idea to tell everybody everything you know.” – Peter Thiel, Zero to One
I am not questioning why you are on this blog. I am inviting you to ask who am I and what is my purpose is in the world. Without clear answers to those questions, your impact on the world around you will be haphazard at best.
In the world of pastoring and church leadership, it is, unfortunately, rare to find leaders who can clearly answer these questions:
- Who am I?
- What gifts do I possess?
- Who do I serve?
- What am I worth?
Unfortunately, without clear answers to those questions, pastors and leaders end up chasing after approval or devoting too much time to things that are off-purpose. This is why many pastors and church leaders find themselves at the whims of anyone in the congregation that expresses an opinion and/or desire (especially if expressed negatively).
Why does that happen? Because without clear answers to those questions, there is no way for pastors/leaders to evaluate what is being asked of them. There is no way for pastors/leaders to say no to the request. Consequently, they say yes to things that don’t further their mission, they say yes to things that pull them away from their gifts/strengths, and their focus becomes blurry.
There is a poignant moment in Matthew’s gospel where Jesus explains his mission through the cross clearly. Peter attempts to stand in the way of that mission. In response, Jesus clearly defines Peter’s attempt to derail his mission as the work of the adversary. Jesus then calls his disciples to clear and focused following (Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me).
Jesus had a clear sense of who he was and what he was here to do. That freed him up to respond to what others were asking of him without apology. If what they were asking furthered his mission then the answer was yes. If it didn’t, he said no.
Pastors and church leaders increasingly need that kind of clarity and focus. As the world becomes more chaotic, and societal anxiety rises, pastors and church leaders will need clarity of self, gifts and purpose to respond effectively to all that is required in this present moment.
I love what David Fitch and Trevin Wax are doing. David is neo-Anabaptist and Trevin is reformed. Two traditions that don’t often go together. Yet, David and Trevin are writing about what they can (and do) learn from the other’s tradition. Read their first articles here and here.
I wish they would’ve sought out some anabaptist voices from the Mennonite and Brethren traditions (although – full disclosure – I studied with David Fitch at Northern). Still, the world needs more of this kind of stuff!
If only we could get Democrats and Republicans talking about the good things they learn from one another…