Healthy Leaders


The Hallmark of a Healthy Christian Leader

Nick FranksNick Franks

“What’s Wrong With Me?”

Do you ever ask yourself this question?

With the sheer volume of broken-down dysfunction in our world, the apparent constancy of world-wide tragedy, atrocity and natural decline, it’s no wonder that, as leaders, we ask ourselves this question. In fact, as leaders, perhaps we actually ask ourselves this question more than others who follow us might. With the blessed hope of complete wholeness one day in glory with our King, with the prospect of our prayers one day finally resolving into unending praise, life in leadership can sometimes feel unbearably difficult as our goals of growth seem but a shimmery mirage.

Within leadership, we have a brimming instinct for these things to be better, you know, the way they should be ‒ holy, mature, pure and spectacularly righteous. Leading our churches or teams or businesses in this fallen world can sometimes, frankly, feel like dull monotony:  Is this really worth it, why am I not seeing more dysfunction transformed … what is wrong with me?

Those Who Mourn

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been studying Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, 6 and 7. I’ve felt drawn to these chapters again and again because of the correspondence of their heart-shaping wisdom with the reality of the end times in which we’re surely living. The discouraging emotions I’ve described above ‒ frustration, anxiety and even hopelessness ‒ though characteristic of the times in which the Lord returns, are not supposed to be the governing realities of our lives or our leadership. Rather, we’re called to the highway of genuine, Spirit-primed faith!

But Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes do diagnose one particular heart condition that I am increasingly convinced is a reality that is supposed to be one of the primary hallmarks of our lives as healthy leaders.

In Matthew 5:4 Jesus says,

“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”

In the same way that the leadership frustrations above are no ordinary or natural set of “emotions,” neither is this mourning a worldly or natural type of sadness. I’ve recently come to understand that this mourning that Jesus speaks of is specifically a mourning about the sinfulness of my own heart and the world in which I live and is a staggeringly supernatural grace for any of us to have: a concern about the sin in our hearts and the sin the in the world.

This Blog Article Is Not Depressing!

What I’ve just written is very, very, very good news! It’s actually distilled gospel joy pressed down, shaken up and running over! That we get to be concerned about the slow progress of our heart, our leadership and the world-wide church are such amazing graces to us from Jesus that we almost miss them. Friends, this waking reality I’m trying to describe ‒ of the sadness of being in the world but not of it ‒ is, conversely to how we might sometimes feel, the very symptom of healthy leadership!

Make no mistake, this mournful heart condition that He forms in us, of longing for the things of Christ to be seen and established and over all, is indeed blessed: not a selfish cocktail of leadership insecurity and lime-light grabbing tendency; not a bunch of immature responses of the flesh to the people we’re called to love and the world we’re called to as Priests; but a deep work of the Spirit of God in our lives to hate sin, kill sin and lead towards His salvation. And this is all that we might witness the fullest manifestation of His Kingdom that Planet Earth has ever seen!

The Blessed Seasoning

This still might leave some of you feeling somewhat “blue” but this is not how we’re to view this reality at all and may, in fact, be a reflection of the lack of health in our leadership if it does.

Always remember that the very fact that we get to experience these supernatural emotions concerning sin and righteousness, wickedness and uprightness, is the very evidence that is meant to bring us spring-time joy and gladness as we commit all over again to leading God’s people in God’s house.

I pray that anyone reading this would experience the heart-skipping joy of realizing that you see what you see and feel what you feel because you are a Christ-appointed leader over your people for such a time as this and that, without doubt, one day very soon, you will again see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living before the comfort Jesus promises of your John 14 home.

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Nick Franks