As I sat in a meeting last week, it was apparent that who I am at the core was coming out in full force. I vented my frustrations and lack of understanding when it came to things such as ministry leadership. We have meetings and only a few show up. We have weekly ministries that need volunteers and there is never enough help. It’s frustration when you make something like church leadership (even on a volunteer/servant level) a priority, and you sit week after week with many who don’t share that passion, but try and justify with excuses. I think my roots of leadership have been formed deep within me as a child. I watched my dad, an extremely successful and professional business man climb the corporate ladder, and finally reach his desired destination as the President of The Institute of Internal Auditors, located in Florida. He has taught college classes, co-authored a book, traveled the world, met with high influential leaders and officials around the globe and has built a highly respected reputation throughout the business world and is at the forefront of the auditing sector. It is this foundation and consistent and proven example that drives me to become all that I can be in this life for Christ, may daughter, and for others. Church leadership is a conversation I have had with some of my church’s pastoral staff and is part of my daily prayer time with God. Occasionally looking back at my blog, (which is basically a way for me to better understand myself and where I am at a particular moment as a follower of Christ) helps me to remember some of my core characteristics and how they all seem to be tying together as I grow. As I have learned to encourage others through my words, and now, learning to be more careful and watchful of my actions, I have a built- in desire to help people become all that God has intended them to be as Christians. I know this sound like a really tall order, and yes it is, but if you think about it, isn’t it what Christ calls us to be to one another; to love each other, to encourage eachother and support each others walk, and to help each other up as we stumble throughout life. This too, is why I think I had blogged previously about my “church issues”, and why so many others may feel aloof from their current church situation. I have reconciled with God, my Church, and my notions of what church should and / or shouldn’t be, and I have learned to not expect so much from people, even from church leaders, even though mine have been extremely supportive and tolerant of my growth and growing pains. I have been blessed with a church full of leaders who have been strong examples of this, even when it has sometimes been in silence. It has been in these difficult times of wanting my answeres NOW, and packaged to my preferences, that God has taught me many lessons of true leadership. We are looking for someone to come along side us and guide us, to support us, and to mentor us in a way. It is obvious, just from our distant cries from the recent political campaign trail that so many (even non-Christians) are looking to be led by someone. As someone who always went out and made things happen for myself, I think I was thrown into my own understanding of what leadership is and why it drives home so much of who am as a person. I think for so many of us, we are looking for those leaders; and for me, my desire is to now learn how to become one of them myself, and serve others with the love of Christ. Obviously, not all that we think and feel can get blogged; at least for me, I’d be posting on a non-stop basis; but a certain underlining them of whom I am is detectable. I am one of 2 very wide extremes. When I am passionate about something, I will put my whole self into it and begin taking charge. This is seen in my career as a professional nanny and also in my 2 1/2 years as a hotel front desk rep. In these two positions I would give my employers 110 %, going the extra mile, working over, coming in early, bending over backwards for their every whim, and some how finding it drove me to preform. The other extreme my sheer lack of motivation at times. This occurs especially when I don’t want to complete a specific task; say do my math homework, or take the necessary time to spend with my daughter; whether it be fun or discipline. Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter, but at this age of 3, and being stuck in the house during a cold winter has been challenging to say the least. We do get out w/ family and friends from time to time, but I think things will be better for the both of us when we can hit the parks and playgrounds on a regular basis. It is becoming apparent that my history of being a procrastinator in this area is serving me no good, but just leading to unnecessary frustration and anger. I point out my short coming b/c I feel that is what good leaders do. I can recall already a few times as our new President has even said, that he messed up, he did not pick the right person, or make a right choice, but that he was human, and trying to learn from the mistakes that he did make. Isn’t that just like all of us a Christians? We are trying to live this life, support our families, be pro-active in our communities and churches and yet mess up from time to time. One thing I have noticed too, is that sometimes, just like in President Obama’s case, there are always going to be people out there to point out our short comings. This is not only true but expected as we become more elevated as leaders. I remember a conversation I had with my pastor which rings true; He said how we as people love to put our leaders on a pedestal and then just as quickly knock them down. It never ceases to amaze me how eager some are to put our well respected Christian leaders under the microscope of judgement and criticism. I remember during election week, our pastor had brought up the topic of abortion while trying to also share his excitement for the historical landmark of the possibility of having the first African American president. That following week, we received an apology letter from him because so many took what he had said out of context and twisted it. I remember sitting with a friend in church the following Sunday, and how we both agreed that we didn’t feel like he has said anything wrong in the first place, and saw no need for an apology of any sort. This drives home the point that when we take on leadership positions, no matter how large or how small, even as small as serving as a volunteer, people are always watching, and they will be quick to judge you and I for what we stand for and believe. This has happened to me a few times recently with fellow Christians who had called me out on something I said or the way I came off, even though they don’t know me; but I am glad that they did b/c it allowed God to reminding me that indeed people are watching me, even people I don’t know. It has even made me re-think the way I act in public, and in my car, maybe sitting in traffic; Am I yelling at my daughter in the back seat, or am I patiently waiting for the car ahead of me to clear the intersection? It’s not hard to notice this in me; I’ ve even noticed that the stronger and more courageous I get in my faith, the more my true colors and passion for Christ starts pouring out of me, to an uncontainable and hopefully contagious manner. I think that being able to write these type of thoughts and to be aware of their reality and gravity is crucial to becoming an effective leader any any level and in any capacity. I think too, of people like Rick Warren, Joyce Meyers, and countless others who are constantly in the public spotlight and hold their own very professionally. I think for the Christian leader, whether, paid or volunteer, we need to always be aware of our surroundings professionally and privately, and seek wisdom and discernment for our thoughts, words and actions, by prayer and being in the Word of God on a daily basis. My prayer today is that I first want to thank God for this increased knowledge and understanding that He does give me in being relational with others and I would ask Him to continue to help all leaders better understand themselves and their own walk with God, including their short comings, so that we can be held accountable in the righteousness of who we are in Christ. May God continue to rise up Godly leaders in every area of our lives and help us always have a passion to lead others in the adventure of becomming more like Christ. Amen!