If you are a pastor you have had this experience.
You meet someone new at your church on a Sunday morning, or they email about getting together and they are excited. I mean really excited. They can’t wait to jump in. They are passionate, extroverted, seemingly gifted and they have tons of experience at other churches. They know the lingo, have read the books, have been to the conferences and have the t-shirt.
They are guns blazing awesome guy (or girl).
Your first thought is, “Where has this person been? Finally!”
I get it because as a leader you want people who are excited, and guns blazing awesome guy is excited. He’s excited enough for 10 people! You can only imagine how far he can move the needle in your church and the people who will follow him, and how great it will be to have someone to shoulder the load.
All that may be true, but let me throw a caution flag.
There is a reason guns blazing awesome guy is at your church and not the church he just left. And it isn’t because of doctrine or because your church is somehow better. There is often something hidden in the background, lurking. It is this that gets so many church planters and pastors in trouble.
This is why there is so much wisdom in Paul’s advice to Timothy to not be hasty in laying on hands (1 Timothy 5:22). Move slowly. Guns blazing awesome guy may turn out to be simply awesome and great for your church, or he will move on to the next church that will elevate him into leadership quickly.
Now let me talk to the guns blazing awesome guy. The guy who is gifted, ready and maybe even mature. Not all guns blazing awesome guys are bad or sinful.
Many times you jump from church to church trying to find a spot, and the reason you have to jump from church to church has nothing to do with you and everything to do with people not seeing how awesome you are.
I know, I know. You are 25 and not getting any younger, and you have all these ideas and energy. Yet part of being a leader is being a follower, being under authority.
I recently talked to a pastor who was interviewing pastors for a job. He said, “One guy stands head and shoulders above the rest in talent and gifts. Yet he hasn’t been in a church for more than a year, and when he has, he didn’t volunteer anywhere, and he had no reason for that. It was ‘the leaders and the culture.'” I told him it would be a mistake to hire this guy, no matter how talented he is.
For both the leader in charge and the guns blazing awesome guy or girl, patience is in order. This is hard for both because ironically they need each other but often have different goals.
I can tell you in my years of ministry I’ve been frustrated because people didn’t see how awesome I was when I thought it. The moments I dug into that, learned and allowed myself to be teachable were the most beneficial. When I kicked up the dirt and moved on, it brought anger, hurt and bitterness. When I’ve rushed the guns blazing awesome guy or girl into leadership because, well, they were awesome, I’ve paid a hard price for it. I’ve overlooked character issues because of how talented they were and because we needed someone in that role. I’ve also moved too slowly with someone and lost them because another opportunity came along.
This isn’t an exact science, so it won’t end like that.
This is more of a caution to explore where you are right now. You may have a guns blazing awesome leader you need to slow down the process on or put a process into place. That way it is less of a feeling and more of a science as you move them into leadership. You may need to take a step back to ask why people don’t think you are as awesome as you think you are and what God might be trying to teach you in the waiting.