Embracing PUC as a Pastor – Global Leadership Summit 2021
Aaron Buer on August 12, 2021
This week I had the privilege of attending a Global Leadership Summit host site at a nearby seminary.
It was an encouraging and challenging experience.
If you’ve never attended or streamed it online, it’s definitely worth the investment.
The one presentation that stood out to me was Craig Groeschel’s opening talk.
I’ll be wrestling with what he said and what to do about it for a while, and I don’t want to wrestle alone, so I’m going to share it with you so we can wrestle with it together.
I’m thoughtful like that. 🙂
Craig argued that as leaders our ability to successfully lead through this difficult season has everything to do with our ability to navigate and embrace PUC—pain, uncertainty, and chaos.
Let’s start with chaos.
Craig said, “rules, policies, and procedures are organizational scar tissue.”
Someone made a mistake, and in response, someone made a rule.
Over time all these rules limit innovation, creativity, and progress.
As leaders, we are more comfortable with organization and control but what is needed is a willingness to tolerate and embrace chaos.
Our unwillingness to accept and endure chaos limits our potential as churches.
The solution to this challenge is empowering others.
But understand, if you empower others, there will be some chaos.
We are much more comfortable with control but control will limit your effectiveness.
Empowering will unleash your effectiveness.
To quote Craig, “The best leaders don’t obsess about controlling outcomes. The best leaders obsess about empowering leaders.”
So, who do you need to empower? What do you need to stop controlling?
These questions are critical for your success as a leader and the health of your church.
No one could have predicted how 2020 would play out. And, no one will be able to predict the uncertainty ahead in 2021 and beyond.
Craig argued that wise leaders plan for unforeseen challenges.
And, great leaders plan for unexpected opportunities.
Why? Because uncertainty always comes with opportunity.
2020 wasn’t a total loss.
All of the challenges brought incredible opportunities for people, organizations, and churches who were willing and able to adapt and move forward.
The challenge Craig gave was this: Create margin for the opportunities you can’t predict.
Margin is what will enable you and your church to take advantage of opportunities you didn’t expect or foresee.
And the truth is, if you look back on your life and the history of your church, many of the opportunities you took advantage of were unplanned opportunities.
You didn’t see them coming but you took advantage of them…or wish you had.
Something Craig said that stuck with me, “The cost of inaction is almost always greater than the cost of a mistake.”
Missing opportunities hurt!
Let’s be real, most churches aren’t known for aggressive moves.
We are usually risk-averse.
But, here’s the challenge for 2021: What risk do you need to take?
Let’s embrace opportunity, adventure, and risk this year!
Craig made an observation from 2 Corinthians 11 that I’ve never thought of.
Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
It’s like Paul is saying that the heaviest weight he feels is the leadership weight.
Leadership is painful. It’s hard. The weight is heavy.
And, the more influence you have and the higher up you are in your organization the more painful leadership tends to be.
With that said, we shouldn’t run from the pain. We shouldn’t avoid it.
In fact, Craig put it like this, “The difference between where you are and where you could be is the painful decision you are unwilling to make.”
Not every season is easy. Not every season is an open door. Not every season is about taking ground. Some seasons are simply to be endured.
So, the question is: What painful decision have you been avoiding that it’s time to make?
Is there a hard conversation you’ve been avoiding?
Is there a difficult project you’ve been putting off?
In order to meet the challenges of the season ahead, you and I need to embrace pain, uncertainty, and chaos.
I found this conversation to be incredibly helpful and challenging.
I hope this post hits you the same way.