How Much Do We Consider Others?

To what degree do we take into consideration the response of others? If we don’t consider the response of others, we’ll never get anywhere. At the same time, if we only consider the response of others, we’ll never get anywhere, either.

My husband and I just got back from a trip to my brother-in-law’s wedding. We decided to drive the 400 miles, and our kids (18 and 22) decided not to go. So we had our first road trip without kids since we had kids. We had a great trip, and it was fun to be able to decide what we wanted to do, when to stop, where to eat, without consulting anyone else.

But most of life is not simply a two-person endeavor. Church life usually involves many more than two. It can be something like a family road trip: “Are we there yet?” sounds out. “I want to stop.” “I’m carsick!” “I’m hungry.” Differing perspectives on what sights to see, and on the vacation budget, affect what the family does. And differing perspectives on goals, needs and budget also affect what church groups do.

Leadership does not mean you always get your own way. It’s important to have clarity about what you’re after and where you are headed. But adjustment along the way, in consultation with the rest of the group, is also an essential part of leadership.

2 Responses to How Much Do We Consider Others?

  1. Betty, you raise terrific questions, too. Balancing the goals of leadership with our relationship with our followers is one of the central tasks of leadership. If we adjust too much, we do cease to lead, as you put it so clearly.

  2. Betty Johnson says:

    You’ve got me thinking Margaret! Again! And asking myself some questions. Thank you. Seems like it boils down to who we please and who we decide to not please, at any given time. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of pleasing those who yell the loudest – but is that what God wants? I have a very diverse congregation which is a blessing, but also keeps me on a tightrope trying to balance, for example, those who want to say the “Lord’s Prayer” every Sunday and those who consider saying it every Sunday to be rote. How often do we do something before it becomes tradition – a blessing, or boring – a curse. And then, there is the issue of how free we are to worship if/when something is not done the way we like it. Maybe underneath of that freedom or lack of it, is whether we have a genuine respect for the other’s point of view or style of worship. How far do we take, “Let each esteem the other better than themselves…” when it comes to adjusting in consultation with the group? As leaders, how much adjusting do we do, before we cease to lead?

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