Leading with Joy Means Leading with Pain

I just finished reading Samuel Chand’s book, Leadership Pain: A Classroom for Growth. This may be the most important leadership book that I have read to date. The subtitle of this book is, “A Classroom for Growth.” And this is true. This book insists that your leadership is based upon your threshold of pain . Change entails pain. Growth means change, so anytime we wish to grow either personally or as an organization, pain will come. What will we use it to learn and grow ourselves , or will it crush us in a mound of self-pity?

Before I became a pastor, I honestly believed that leading a church would be free from pain if you were doing it right.  The absence of pain, to me, meant the presence of God’s favor. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is, oftentimes the closer you are to Christ and His Word and His mission, the more pain arrives. Why?

Coasting and being content with the status quo brings no tension, no edge, nor accountability.  It’s like the end of Judges: “There was no king in the land, and everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (21:25).  Silos exist in each ministry with no connectivity with one another, nor with the church in general.

But with an aim to bring everything under the lane of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, the tension and accountability come.  Some are on -board, some aren’t. Some want to do it their way, but now there’s accountability to do it Scripture’s way.

And pain comes.  Pushback comes. Suddenly, a leader is not simply consumed with being liked, but being faithful!

The money quote in this book is this one:

It is a paradox of a grace-filled spiritual leader that he can be a bold visionary yet humble and willing to listen to anyone at any time; he can be driven but his heart is at rest; he can be tenderly compassionate yet brutally honest when the occasion warrants. He has nothing to prove and nothing to lose (p. 182).

I find myself going back and forth in each of these areas listed, but God used Chand to give me freedom to be both! It does not take away every aspect of pain, but it sure helps raise the threshold of it all.

And it raises my joy!


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