Empowering people is messy.
Loving people is messy. And that is beautiful. Even ideal. It's the beauty of the Good News and of leadership... Oh, it hurts so good, many times, just to trust and deal with junk. Let me explain:
You are messy. I am messy. "Messy," meaning: we can't control all the variables, outcomes, and results of life in general. We just can't. That makes things uncomfortable, awkward, and well... messy.
God is not confused by the mess of our lives. He built this into the equation in his grand mystery. His steadfast love pursued us even when we were enemies. The "mess" is a factor that shows us our weakness, increases our dependency on Jesus, and causes others to look to the perfect hope in Jesus - not in ourselves.
There are many examples of the "mess" throughout all of scripture.
To name a few: Paul + Barnabas in Acts 15 have a sharp disagreement, David + Bathsheba partake in some interesting activities (2 Samuel 12), the Jerusalem Council steps in to resolve a sticky situation again in Acts 15, Apollos (Jedi for Jesus) gets corrected by Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18), and the list goes on and on in the lives of almost all of the Biblical heroes.
How about Peter? Peter denied Jesus, was then restored by Jesus, and later needs to be corrected by Paul for being a hypocrite (Galatians 2). He knew grace, he received grace, yet he still found himself in a mess that needed to be cleaned and for Jesus to step back in.
All of this is comes from the heart and image of how we see ourselves and our teams. Asking ourselves questions like these can be helpful:
- Are we "OK" with the mess of leading people or are we just trying to keep clean and look good?
- Will we empower people and allow them to make mistakes, or will we micromanage and still make mistakes?
I have realized more than ever that I can't be there for every meeting
I can't help fine tune each system in our organization. I need grace daily, and I definitely can't control the outcome. God makes it grow and gives the victory in battle. The temptation comes to want to be there at every meeting to give input. I want to coach in each moment and provide direction, but in order to scale God's vision, I have to trust Jesus through his people! Sounds about right though, doesn't it?!
Jesus wants his leaders to be dependent on HIM, realizing there is no way to scale or fulfill the vision without grace and his hand! (see Ephesians 4:12)
BY ALL MEANS, do everything possible to create healthy guides, good training, examples in holiness, repentance, and leadership; but, remember it will never change the fact that Jesus is writing the story. His Holy Spirit can lead and correct better than we can, but sometimes his way will be MESSY.
A leader I love told me once, "You can have policy driven systems or people driven systems." The people version is messier, but what we choose defines us! That inspired me and fanned the flame of what I knew to be true. It helped kill the "monster" of policy which longs to keep us clean, but keeps us from actually loving people.
Together, let's empower people to do more than they thought they could and learn to be "OK" with getting a little dirty.
Loving people is messy, leading people is messy, you are messy, I am messy.
It is all worth it because Jesus loved us and loves people. Get dirty for the Good News!