Living and Leading in ‘The In-Between’

the in-between

As a leader you will often find yourself in the in-between times of life and leadership. What I mean by the in-between is that you know where you are going personally, your dreams and goals; or with your church or organization, you see the vision, the place. But you can’t go there yet. It might be timing, it might be that you need more finances, more leaders, maybe you are needing to allow people time to train or get used to the idea.

Whatever it is, the in-between time is tough to not only live in but to lead in.

Leaders feel this when they know their church should make a change, kill a program, add a staff member they can’t afford or change locations, but they are in a waiting period.

The in-between.

We know this feeling when we want to complete school, start dating someone who isn’t there yet, get married to a person who isn’t ready.

The in-between.

It is the pain of longing to have children that never happens. It is the late nights as we wait for kids to fall asleep, to start listening or to simply grow up and move out so we can get to the next season of life.

The in-between.

Many of us live our lives longing to be in the next place.

In the in-between, you know where you are going, but you can’t talk about it with everyone. You need to wait for more information, for things to fall into place before you let people know and clarify things. A leader lacks influence when he says, “In eight months this change will happen. So we’ll just wait until then, but it’s coming.”

In the in-between you can get antsy and frustrated because it isn’t getting here. The frustration also comes from seeing things as they are when you know what they will be like, and you have to wait for it. That’s not easy. It means biting your tongue, grinning and bearing some things until it’s time.

The in-between is also a time that your faith is stretched, you learn about your impatience, your lack of belief in the power and control of God as you wonder why He is taking so long, as if His timing is not perfect.

Leadership in this time is difficult because momentum is easily lost. The reason it can be lost is because you as the leader have moved into the future, but you can’t talk about it yet. Consequently, you are running out of steam on where things are. You have to stay mentally engaged in the present, where God has you and your church.

The in-between time is also the time that grows us the most. That’s the blessing of it. Without it, we can never get to the place God wants us to be. It is easy to despair in the in-between, but if we do, we miss the point of it.