confessions of a church leader

No it’s not the title of a dubious 1970’s film but it is my attempt to ‘come clean’ at the end of what has been the year that was 2020!!

Confession is an interesting word, it means disclosure, owning up, acknowledging truth, coming clean.

But it also means affirmation, foundational truth, bedrock, what we stand on.

So here goes with my 2-fold confessions as a church leader looking back on 2020….

#1 – I’ve realised I like control way more than I’d like to admit.

As a leader I’m a planner, a strategist, always thinking about what’s next and this year much of my ability to do that has been stripped away. At times that’s left me anxious, uncertain, fearful and angry. At times I’ve had imposter syndrome, can I really do this? Do I have what it takes to lead myself let alone others through this season?

What I’m beginning to realise is this….

I must take control of what I should and surrender control of what I can’t

What’s in my control is my attitude, my response and my choices pretty much everything else I have to daily surrender.

Prayer reminds us we are not in control and keeps us close to the one who is’ – Craig Groeschel

#2 – I really miss people…..but sometimes I don’t!

I am an extrovert and I’ve really missed people but during this season I’ve found people appealing and frustrating in equal measures! Someone once said, ‘an immature Christian is hard to please and easy to offend.’

This season has revealed our level of faith and maturity and at times that’s made me rejoice and at other times….weep…..

#3 – I thought I’d been to the edge before but now I think I’ve peered over it…

Losing my mum the week before lockdown, the birth of our first grandchild during lockdown, constant uncertainty regarding our youngest son who has learning disability and is in residential care plus a pandemic have all combined to moments of sadness, grief, anxiety and if I’m totally honest there have been times I’ve never felt lower…..

I know I’m not alone but sometimes I’ve felt it….as have you….

So to my other ‘confessions’….these are the affirmations I want to stand on, the foundational truths I want to build on whatever 2021 may bring….

#1 – I am more than what I do

This year I want to learn more ‘being’ than ‘doing’….I want more delight than duty, more abandonment than achievement and more moments than measurements…

#2 – I can rest from work and I can work from rest

Robert Morris is in his book, ‘Take the day off’ says about the sabbath,

Rest is a gift God asks you to give yourself’

For those who know me you know I find this hard, maybe for some of the reasons I’ve ‘confessed’ but also because I love what I do. But through this season I’m learning to rest and not just to ‘park the car’ but to ‘switch off the engine’!

#3 – I want to want God more than I need to need God

So many times during this year my prayers have been need based and while that’s ok..’God shows up most powerfully when we need him most desperately,’ I want more than that next year.

I want to want God, I want to know His presence, I want to be free of agendas, requests and instead just be with Him….

#4 – I still believe the church is the hope of the world!

I first heard this phrase over 20 years ago and yes of course Jesus is the hope of the world but the Church is who Jesus entrusted his gospel ‘good news’ to carry into the world. The church is not perfect but she is powerful…at times bewildering and yet beautiful…sometimes hurtful and yet still hopeful….fragile and yet forever…

What matters most is what lasts the longest

That’s the glory of God, the Kingdom of God and the people of God!

My heart goes out to all leaders this year but especially to church leaders….you have adapted, innovated, pivoted, been frustrated, exhausted and have kept on going!

(If you’re a part of a local church why not tell the leaders how grateful you are for them? Don’t just store up the great words for their funeral say them now!)

The Church is still the hope of the world and the potential of the local church far outweighs the problems of the local church – Carey Nieuwhof

So as this year draws to a close what’s your confession? What will you stand on in 2021?

I’d love to hear from you….leave a comment below or on social media and remember, the only thing worse than a crisis is a wasted crisis.

Let’s take our learnings with us, let’s not try to head ‘back to normal’ but move forward and as we do let’s remember what Paul said to the church at Philippi…

I pray with great faith for you, because Im fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Philippians 1:6 TPT

12 thoughts on “confessions of a church leader”

  1. There is no disputing that COVID 19 has had an impact on all of our lives over the last 9 months.
    Our relationships with family and friends have all been affected.
    We’ve had to stand by and watch as those we love have lost their livelihoods, their health, and sometimes even their lives, and we’ve been unable to give them our usual level of affection and support.

    Yes … it has been hard.
    But, even in the midst of all of this, I have seen our church, under your leadership, rise up and shine.
    I am in awe of, and so proud of, the way Lifecentral has reached out and really got involved in the community and the problems they are facing.
    People who would normally not give church a second thought are being drawn to a beacon that is shining out over this area.

    God has taken what the enemy intended for harm and turned it to good.
    I personally have had much more contact with church, and people linked to church, than I had before this all started.
    I’ve actually increased my circle of friends, and increased my involvement in outreach.
    Our church is doing what a church should be doing … showing the love of Jesus.
    And letting them know that there is HOPE!

    Our journey may have been altered, but our destination remains the same.

    I pray, Leon, that our God will continue to fill you, and bless you, and guide you on that journey.

  2. Thank you Leon for your wise and honest thoughts. There is much to ponder on. We have been, and continue to be, so blessed by your leadership and are so thankful by all you and Lifecentral have done to faithfully lead us through unchartered waters.
    I have learnt that I do not need to potter around shops buying stuff I don’t need. And what I really want to be able to do in 2021 is to hug my family and to meet our new granddaughters, born in March whom we’ve yet to see.
    Possessions come and go, it s people that matter most.
    Love to you and Allison. Xxx

  3. Confession #1, that is so me !!
    This year I would like to write more eloquently, hear God more clearly , travel more widely and trust God more completely.
    Thank you for your honesty.
    It’s always good to see the right person in the right job at the right time.

  4. I very much recognise myself in confession #1 – I need to resign as CEO of my universe and the universe and it’s a resignation letter I need to write daily
    Read psalm 62:5,6 in the message earlier and it’s given me truths to stand on for 2021
    1. God is my true Hope
    2. God is the solid rock under my feet ( even when everything seems like shifting sands)
    3. God is the breathing room for my soul – I need this more than ever

    Thanks for all you’ve done and the inspiration you’ve been in a difficult but great year Leon. I praise God that my life is in His hands and I’m incredibly thankful that those hands have placed me and Alison and Jacob in lifecentral, under your passionate and compassionate leadership, in these days. I’ve been “fed” royally by the online servings from church this year and I’ve been given nourishing “food” to share with friends, neighbours, colleagues, those who know Jesus and those who don’t yet.
    Thanks again for who you are and what that means you bring


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