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Stop Leading

Stop Leading

It’s my birthday. I literally had to use a calculator to figure out how old I’m turning. I don’t subscribe to celebrating most things, valentine’s day, national donut day, etc. Birthdays are no different. If anything, all gifts should be submitted to the mother of the person whose birthday we’re celebrating. Different topic for a different time.

Whenever there’s a landmark moment in life, which I’ll admit birthdays are, it leads me to do some introspective thinking. What have I learned this past year? What were some of the highlights? This past year, the church where I served on the leadership team as an elder shut its doors. Although challenging and difficult for many of the congregation, it wasn’t due to any big scandal or financial failure. This put me in a position I haven’t been in more than once in my Christian life: searching for a church home. A lot of growth has happened in that time, so the process was quiet different.

We’ve visited 4 different churches in the past two months, 2 of them several times. Something happened when we stepped foot in one of these churches, we were able to worship. We walked in, dropped our children off, got refreshments, sat in the sanctuary, and went on to worship in song and let ourselves get lost in a sermon that God spoke through. Afterwards, we spoke to some people, got our children, got in the car and left, refreshed. Now lest you think I was in an abusive situation at our previous church let me make it clear, that was not the case. However, I was in leadership. I needed to make sure volunteers were there on time to set up. Make sure no interruptions were had. Be ready for any kind of unexpected surprises. This was my calling and I was fully in.

The realization I came to on this particular Sunday was that I was leading, but not worshiping. I was not allowing anyone to serve me. I didn’t know at the time. I pursued God in my own quiet times and worship music is always readily available. However, I realize that my understanding of leadership was to only serve. Leadership is servitude, and servitude sometimes means letting others tend to you. Do not take away their ability to serve to you.

Those of you who are leaders, especially in ministry, be careful. If you feel that the burden of leadership is not allowing you to worship, then you must stop. If during every gathering you find yourself concerned about the logistics and not refreshed by the fellowship, you must stop. If leadership has become your job instead of your desire, then you must stop. Allow others to serve you. Be poured into. God has created you to worship Him, not a calling or other people. If any of those things are an obstacle, you must step away. Leading should be worship, not a substitution.

I’m turning 34 by the way. Calculator says so.

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Ardi Shahini

Ardi is a son of Jesus, husband to Tiffany, and a father to Vincent and Victor. Has been serving as an elder for the past 8 years at Aletheia Norfolk Church in Norfolk, VA. He enjoys Italian soccer, fighting the establishment, and being proven wrong by wiser people.

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