Henri Nouwen, Harvard and Leadership

We had small group last night led by the every capable Ryan. She is the only mom I know who has taken boxing lessons, loves the Bible and pleasantly facilitates a great Bible study. She did so last night, without boxing.

It was about the last chapter in Henri Nouwen’s “In the Name of Jesus.” I was struck by “What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life. Jesus asks, ‘Do you love me?’ We ask, “Can we sit at your right hand and your left hand in the Kingdom?'”

We talked for a long time about the chapter. For me this was the thought provoking part, though Ryan led us into a lot of thought provoking things. But the interplay between leader, follower and love was the part for me.

So this morning I get up and open my e-mail to find these statements from this Harvard Business Review article “12 Things Good Bosses Believe:”

  • My job is to serve as a human shield, to protect my people from external intrusions, distractions, and idiocy of every stripe — and to avoid imposing my own idiocy on them as well.
  • How I do things is as important as what I do.
  • Because I wield power over others, I am at great risk of acting like an insensitive jerk — and not realizing it.

Those were numbers 5, 11 and 12 so there is a lot more to say about the article and a lot will resonate with you. My conclusion is that a good leader loves people and helps them get their job done.

In the church the job a person has is to apply the gifts God gave them for the betterment of the whole church. Often they do that through a particular ministry or task but sometimes not. My job is to help them do that and love them in that and model how they can love too.

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