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Should leaders give up?

November 26, 2008

There has been some great conversation about getting “burned” and being “burnt.” I love discussing things so I really appreciate it. Keep it up.

But I wanted to address the issue of how we can keep people from being “burned” and start to put an end to all the emotional damage that has been happening in the church for quite some time.

Here is the question: Should leaders give up on people they are caring for or investing in?

And I think the answer is obvious (at least to me, because this is only my opinion), but some Christian leaders have gotten things mixed up. Here’s why. As Christian leaders care for or invest in others, they often become frustrated and give up on people (this happens to even the best.) They give up not because they don’t love the person anymore, but because the person they are trying to help is just taking a long time to get their act together.

Which brings us to the questions again: Should leaders give up on people?

The answer is NO. No matter how long it takes someone to get it together, no matter how long they toy with the leader’s emotions, and no matter how long they continue to screw up, it is never OK to give up on those God has called you to care for and invest in.

Our job as Christian leaders is to represent Christ and the forgiveness He gave to us on the cross. The last time I checked, Jesus never gave up on humanity. So why would we?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Lizz permalink
    November 26, 2008 5:58 pm

    Very True.
    When ‘Leaders’ start helping people on their own strength, they will certainly get burnt out and burn others in the process because we just can’t do it ourselves. Obviously, we as humans make mistakes and people do get hurt, but when we concentrate on doing things for others just as if we were doing them to God himself, we have the right motive and mindset to help. Selfishness and helping others do not go hand in hand.
    Actually, that could be the basis of most of the problems in the church world.

  2. November 26, 2008 8:25 pm

    if i may be allowed to advocate for the devil on your blog… i think your question may be incorrect. first of all… it sounds rather rhetorical… “should leaders give up?” is like asking “should the quarterback pass?”. perhaps it should be phrased more like “can there be a situation where a Christian leader is incapable of helping a person and should stop investing his time.” maybe that’s what you meant but it was just too long a title for a post…

    Paul seemed to think that for Hymenaeus and Alexander there came a point where he needed to release them from his support. “… some have made shipwreck of their faith among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander whom I HAVE HANDED OVER TO SATAN that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 timothy 1:20; emphasis added).

    the context of this passage is that Christ came to save sinners and Paul has found it appropriate with these two men to “give up” on them, if you will. interesting…

    on the other hand… what of Jesus who heals all ten lepers despite the knowledge that only one would come back to give thanks. interesting…

    should leaders give up on people they are caring for or investing in? define “give up.” of course leaders should never stop praying for people or being willing to meet with them if they want to. sometimes, however, perhaps leaders can make better use of their time than helping people who are not interested in changing. perhaps what those people need, like Hymenaeus and Alexander is to “… be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so that his spirit might saved in the day of the LORD” (1 Corinthians 5:5).

    hm…

    i don’t know anything.

    marksantistevan.

  3. todd permalink
    November 27, 2008 3:06 pm

    “Give up” is an ambiguous term. Does it imply flavors of the “Your dead to me” mentality. Or are we talking simply a reallocation of time and effort? The “you are dead to me” mentality is a problem. A big one that solves nothing but only serves to divide and actively seeks to destroy relationship. But the other, has a place. As Mark said (Santistevan not Bible Mark), there comes a point where it is good to in a way say, “I have nothing more to teach you. I cannot carry you. You know where to find God and I will be with you as much as I can. But right now you need God to support you, not me.” We can point people in the right direction but they have to walk it themselves.

    I find that slot of times, the people who are spinning their wheels and eating up your time (I lump myself in this category as this has far too often applied to myself as well) are actively focusing on the wrong things. If we spend hours/days/weeks talking about how your relationship with your parents is faltering, but the issue really spawns from your relationship with God faltering, how much success can we really expect anyway? Treat the disease not the symptoms.

    but like mark, I know nothing, so maybe not.

  4. Benjamin Davis permalink
    November 27, 2008 6:41 pm

    Mark and Todd, Thank you for you opinions. I knew someone would get the thought behind the post. When Mark you ask me to define “give up” it reminds me of when Bill Clinton asked the country how do you define the word “is.” I will define what I was thinking about in one minute. One more quick thing Mark, do quarterbacks always have to pass? Just a thought.

    I do think that that leaders are allowed to reallocate their time, as Todd was saying, but I think the problem behind that is…is that the leaders do not make it extremely clear to the person that they are helping, about the leaders actions.

    Mark and Todd, you have great thoughts why are you two being so humble?

  5. November 27, 2008 7:16 pm

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

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