The Power of Vulnerability

An interesting development came as we ended our first day of the Summit – Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, was supposed to be the keynote speaker the following day, but backed out due to pressure from gay-rights activists.  This Summit was hosted by Willow Creek Church and apparently gay-rights activists felt that Willow Creek was too conservative and was against gay marriage.  Therefore, Mr. Schultz was urged to forego his presence at the Summit and stay more “neutral” in the religious realm.  So, they slid in  a guy who consulted for Willow Creek and boy was I impressed by their choice!

Patrick Lencioni is the founder of The Table Group, which helps companies get healthier after they suffer dysfunction and dismay.  He was hysterical – I mean I was laughing so hard I had tears rolling down my face.  Not only did this guy make a ton of sense, but I could see our church meetings in his stories, our issues in his musings, our collective dysfunction in his examples of problems he has been sent in to solve.

Patrick focused on his newest book, “Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty.”  You may wonder what int he world that has to do with a church, but the bottom line of the book was to be VULNERABLE as a leader.  He was stressing the power of vulnerability and wondering why we are all so fearful of it.  He offered that the reason we don’t want to be vulnerable is that we fear these three things:

  1. Fear of embarassment – we have to put ourselves in the position of being embarassed.  We shouldn’t edit ourselves so much.  We need to be more interested in helping others than protecting our self image.  We need to celebrate our mistakes becase we are human!
  2. Fear of rejection – we have to be willing to be rejected.  How do we do this?  We have to enter the danger!
  3. Fear of feeling inferior – We have to do the dirty work by making ourselves lower than others, if needed.  We need to show people that we are willing to do what we are asking others to do.  We need to honor our clients work – be more interested in them than we are in ourselves.

How does this translate into leadership in the church?  I believe wholeheartedly that if I’m going to ask someone to be a part of a mission or ministry, I, too am willing to get down to the nitty gritty with them.  If I need folks to do yard work, I’ll do yard work too.  Being vulnerable opens us all up to rejection, embarassment and a feeling of inferiority.  But, a good leader knows that we need to be willing to put ourselves out there for the good of a mission – especially if that mission is to lead people to Jesus Christ.

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About revmonica

I'm the Director of Growth Ministries at Williamsons Chapel United Methodist Church and the proud wife of Steve and mommy to Morgan and Gavin.
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