Recently, my worst nightmare as a church leader happened. I woke up at 1am on Sunday morning...and...let's just say...I was very sick.
Obviously, this is never a good thing, but when you're a leader in a church, that's pretty much the worst time to get sick. I'm the main worship leader at my church. I also handle all the media...and our church is portable. Sundays are pretty wild and my attendance is somewhat crucial.
So, there I was...sick at 1am...wondering how I was going to function at 6am setting up equipment at a high school. I was also trying to decide if I was going to be able to lead worship for three services.
Fortunately, God is in control and He knew all about this apparent crisis.
It just happened to be my recently hired Worship Leader Assistant's first Sunday with us and he was actually co-leading with me. He stepped up and led worship for the morning, which allowed me to lay in bed all morning and be sick.
Amazingly, everything went great.
God's Spirit moved in people.
People worshipped God...and I wasn't even there.
Long story short - I'm expendable.
Before I was born, God was doing His thing. His will and His Kingdom are not dependent on me or on my in-giftedness. Sure, I serve God and His Church and I strive to contribute, but if I die right now, God will fill my spot.
The definition of expendable is "capable of being sacrificed in order to accomplish an objective."
That's me...and, um...if you're a church leader...that's you too.
It doesn't mean that we can't be valuable or impacting. It simply means that, at the end of the day, it doesn't all depend on us. God's got big hands and he's holding it all together. (Colossians 1:17)
So, what do we, as church leaders, do with this information?
Some leaders will fight it in their insecurity. Some will sulk in self-pity.
What I would like to see happen is leaders embrace it in humility, and, in turn, proclaim it loudly for God's glory.
"It's not about us!"
"It's not up to us!!"
Those are freedom cries. Those are statements of deepest honesty and self-realization.
God is dependable and we are expendable.
His plan is perfect and ours is flawed.
When we don't grasp this as church leaders, we are operating under a warped mindset of narcissistic tendencies. I heard Rick Warren once say that we too often walk around saying, "If it's to be, it's up to me!"
I'm pretty sure the people who make God laugh the hardest have to be control freaks...and I have to confess that I'm one of those people.
At the heart of worship is surrender. When we surrender to the fact that God is dependable and we are expendable, we will find great freedom and a peace that goes beyond our understanding. It's a recognition and resignation to God's sovereignty. He lives, He knows all and He doesn't need us.
The beauty is, with all that being said, He wants us.
Expendable, broken and sinful people are the target of God's intense pursuit.
He desires our worship and is jealous for it. The God that was and is and always will be, wants me.
As church leaders, we tend to lose sight of this. We forget where we came from and find ourselves in delusion and confusion, thinking that we are making it all happen. When this sets in, we stray away from recognizing WHO God is, and start leading our church away from God's glory and toward our own.
It doesn't have to be this way. There's a better Way.
We need to recognize our expendability and understand where to find our true value:
1. Our value lies in the fact that we are children of God. We have an inheritance in the Kingdom of Almighty God...the Creator, Sustainer & Owner of it all! How often do we sit and think about that? How often do we forget that or take it for granted? That's a pretty big deal.
2. Our value lies in replacing ourselves as leaders and empowering others. If you don't think your church or ministry could function without you right now, then it's only as big as you are. FYI...that's pretty small. You will find great joy and fulfillment in mentoring and empowering a future young leader. It will be something to celebrate the older you get. It's the ultimate way you can contribute to what you're leading.
So, church leaders...
...embrace the title.
We are THE EXPENDABLES!
God is dependable.
His glory is incomprehensible.
It's a beautiful thing and it's something we can find great value and joy in.