Dan And Brian

I’m reading a book on Christian Leadership at the moment.

It’s called ‘Leading With A Limp’, by Dan Allender.

I started reading it last week.

And this week, the whole Brian Houston/Hillsong saga blew up in our faces.

I say ‘our faces’ because for years, Hillsong has been untouchable, immutable, carved in stone as THE premier church that could do very little wrong. Mainstream Christians everywhere jumped on the wagon hitched to a freight train that took our bland 70s and 80s Sunday Church music and turned the genre on its head. Love them or hate them, their influence is undeniable.

Allender’s book has a fairly simple premise. Leadership is for broken people. God’s choice of leaders always seems to involve flawed, fragile, broken people. People who know they aren’t up to the task. People who are willing to own and face their shortcomings. People who are willing to name their weaknesses.

Personal disclosure. I’ve drunk from the Willow Creek fountain, and Saddleback, and Hillsong, and (insert favourite church organization here). I’ve been to the Global Leadership Summits. They didn’t gel for me. I’ve tried to figure out why, and the nearest reason I can come to is that they all feel so ‘corporate’. The sessions usually feature high-profile, vision-driven, go-get-‘em, whizz-bang CEO-type people. And they generally proclaim a high-profile, vision-driven, go-get-‘em, whizz-bang, CEO-type of Christianity and Church.

I’ve walked out of most sessions feeling, well, empty, to be honest.

And guilty!

Guilty for not siding with colleagues and friends who would rave about the impact of such sessions, and the insights they had gleaned from them. Guilty for not feeling as they do. Wondering if there was (or is) something wrong with me. What am I missing? Why couldn’t I see what they saw?

Then, I’d start reading my bible, and I’m drawn to the fragility of the leaders that God seems to select. Moses who pleads for God to send someone else, anyone but me Lord. Paul who had a constant thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan. Peter who couldn’t keep his mouth shut, and chickened out at Jesus’ betrayal.

I’m reading through the stories of the Patriarchs in Genesis for my devotions at the moment. And the things that keep standing out to me are not their successes, but rather the stunning array of mistakes that these people made. Over and over, repeated from one generation to the next. Abraham, Isaac, and finally Jacob, who walks with a limp, after a fight with the Almighty.

It’s not their victories that inspire me. It’s their weaknesses that ring true with me. That, and a God who seems to take special pleasure picking out the most unlikely people to work for Him. The people who have no illusions about who they are, or what they’re really like. The people who have the courage wear their weaknesses and imperfections openly and honestly, because that’s where God is to be found. Those are the kind of leaders I resonate with. Their failures are my failures. Those are the kind of leaders I trust.

I think Allender is on to something with his book. And I wonder whether someone like Brian Houston, and the Hillsong Leadership would have benefitted from reading it too. I’ve read about Houston’s failures, and I’ve read some of the glee-filled, I-told-you-so responses to them.

I don’t feel that way. I feel deflated. I feel like here was a bloke who was given no permission to be weak, either by himself or his peers. Someone who also drank from the high-profile, vision-driven, whizz-bang, CEO type of lifestyle, and found that he needed alcohol and medication to sustain it. I see someone who possibly had come to believe that he wasn’t allowed to fail. That failure was the worst sin of all.

And my hope and prayer is that he will find the same God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Peter and Paul, waiting to administer truth, forgiveness, healing and grace to him.

I hope and pray he finds that.

About andy63

Auditorium/Facilities Manager at Kennedy Baptist College. Family man, Dockers Supporter, NFL and NBA tragic who loves the Red Bull Air Race and a good meal. A Christian who is grateful for grace and forgiveness and the fact that Jesus is alive.

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