When I was 25 I was a young, punk of a leader. I had a Master’s degree and had been a part of large, successful ministries. I was always the smartest person in the room (in my mind and I made sure others knew it). I also had had a relatively easy life up until this point.
I was sitting in an interview with a large church for a student pastor position. The interview was going well and I thought I would for sure get the job. The executive pastor was getting ready to wrap up the interview when he asked if anyone had any final questions. The lead pastor had been in the interview the entire time but hadn’t said a word. He looked at me and said, “I have one question.” I was ready to talk vision or strategy, but his question caught me off guard. He looked at me and said, “Tell me your deepest hurt.”
I was silent.
He then said, “Tell me about your deepest wound.”
I stumbled for an answer.
While I had been hurt, I had never really been abused or beaten. I wasn’t abandoned or from a broken home. My life had been easy up until this moment. I gave him a rather lame answer that I can’t even remember.
After my answer he said, “Thanks Josh, but we won’t be hiring you. I’m afraid of a leader who can’t name his deepest hurt because I don’t know if he’s past it, but I also don’t know what he’ll do when he meets it.”
Little did I know, the next 3 years after this moment, I would encounter hurts and pain I had never dreamed of.
Fast forward 10 years and I’m on the other side of the table of interviewing people. One of the questions I ask each person is, “Tell me about your deepest pain. What do you do when life hurts? When God seems silent? What you can’t connect with your spouse? When your ministry feels like a failure?”
Like that lead pastor, I’m scared of leaders who stumble through this answer.
Because they will face a desert, they will face failure, they will come up against their deepest pain at some point and I don’t know how they’ll respond.
This right here is why many people fail to move forward in life, fail to capitalize on their gifts or see the doors open to them that they wish to have open.
We like authentic people and leaders, people who have been wounded as we have but have found a way to move forward from it. Who aren’t scarred by it, they are marked by their past, but they aren’t destroyed by it.
There is something about a leader who has faced what we have faced and come out the other side. We want to be around them, we want to be like them, we want to follow them to where they are going.