Leadership Reflections 004
Over the last few years we have all heard and processed news of leaders who have fallen short of the high standards that are laid out in the Bible. For many of us these instances have been upsetting, painful and heartbreaking. We share those feelings of pain at the abuse, ill treatment and hurt that has been experienced around the Church.
It’s caused Debby and me to reflect again, with some of our team, on the leadership lessons we can learn in this moment; lessons for our own churches and those across the wider Vineyard family here in the UK and Ireland.
This series of Leadership Reflections contains some teaching and lessons which we have shared with Vineyard Senior Pastors over the last few years. As we continue to listen and learn from this season, we wanted to open these resources up to anyone who would find them helpful by publishing them publicly.
Our prayer is that you might find these helpful and by the grace of God, together we can create churches that are safe, Kingdom-centred communities for us all to call home.
John & Debby Wright
Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland
How we lead and how we respond sets an example for others to follow. We’re always modelling something. That could be our decision-making or how we carry ourselves in public spaces, or even how we communicate online and on social media. As we reflect on difficult situations and whether or what to post publicly about it, there are legitimate things that we need to give thought to. The real question is: what’s the most constructive, Godly, wise way to do that?
Sleep on it
One of the things I have found concerning is the unfiltered and unkind way that some people – sadly including some Pastors and leaders – express their feelings or opinions on social media.
Back in the day, when Debby’s father (David Pytches) led a church, when he was responding to a difficult situation, he would write a strongly worded letter, and then he would leave it on his desk and sleep on it. The next day he would almost certainly put it in the bin and write a more considered response.
Today, with a few strokes of our thumb, we can post and publish permanent and globally reaching comments in a social media thread in seconds. This immediacy is one of the weaknesses of social media. What is posted can spark responses, and before we know it a fire has broken out.
What is posted can spark responses, and before we know it a fire has broken out.
Consider the impact
Social media behaves more like a tongue than a pen – it is immediate.
James talks about the tongue (James 3:5-6)
It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it. (MSG)
So with social media, I would encourage us all to consider the impact of anything we post. Especially if we are commenting on a high stakes subject.
When publishing anything that could have an impact, where possible invite others to help contribute.
Clint Van Zandt, a Former FBI profiler wrote this stark statement.
“Think of anything you post as a tattoo on your forehead. Who do you want to be looking at that tattoo tomorrow, 6 months from now, 6 years from now?”
Social Media can be an incredibly useful tool. It is accessible, instantaneous and almost universal. But leaders and Pastors would do well to carefully consider its use, especially when addressing controversial, complex or painful subjects. I would encourage you to take a leaf out of David Pytches’ book and sleep on it.