I was privileged to pastor for almost all my years on Campus. It was common to hear people call me, “Pastor Demola” and all that. Something interesting happened while staying in the Fellowship Secretariat. I was coming out of the kitchen with a pot of food (I cook excellently well till date) when I met with members of the fellowship who came visiting or so.
Their reaction startled me that the pot of food almost slipped off my hands; “Oh, Pastor, do you cook? Do you eat?” I was almost answering them with, “No, I don’t cook. I don’t eat. I always do ‘alone with God’ feeding on prayers and the word. I am not human but an angel.” Well, I did not say all that. I only got a leadership lesson from that experience.
Friend, leaders are human and we need to let people know that we are. I particularly have an issue with the leadership we practise on this side of the world. It is a leadership that does not show vulnerability. Most leaders in this part of the world want to look larger than life, infallible and superhuman. This is, perhaps, the reason followers would not spare you when you fall; you have postured as infallible.
Only God is infallible. Even when Jesus was on earth, he showed us the human side of his leadership. He was hungry; he ate (John 4:6-8). He was tired; he slept while in a ship (Matthew 8:24-25). He ate with sinners (Matthew 9:10). He attended wedding ceremony (John 2:1-2). He shared his burdens with few of his disciples (Matthew 26:37-38). Check what the writer of Hebrews had to say about Him in Hebrews 4:15.
“For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). This is the Jesus we serve. He is our High Priest yet he stooped low to associate with the frailty of humans. What qualified Him to save us was that He was like us. You are not qualified to lead people until you are like them.
This is the burden of leadership; to identify with the humanity and frailty of people and still be able to exercise leadership to help them out of it. This is why a lot of leaders are disconnected from the realities of the life of those they lead. This is why some people think Pastors don’t have bills to pay. They don’t sometimes fall sick. They are not facing what others are facing. And this is why they cannot truly and vitally help the people.
Learning to balance vulnerability and leadership strength is a mark of growth and maturity; that you identify with the people to understand them and also exercise the right leadership to help them. Like Jesus, it is to not be ashamed to call them brethren (Hebrews 2:11). Be that kind of leader in your family, among your friends, in the Church, at your work place, and indeed everywhere! Lead out of vulnerability (Hebrews 4:15-16).
© ‘Demola Awoyele
Destiny Impact Church