message of note


Rev. Carl Beech

Next year, I’m taking up the role of Director of Church Planting and Church Development for the Elim Movement. It’s going to be a huge change for me on many different levels so I thought that for this month’s ramblings, I would share some thoughts on what it means personally to transition from being the big boss type CEO to having a boss or three again.

There’s a line in a well-known Pacino movie called ‘Devil’s Advocate’ that goes something like this: “Vanity, my favourite sin.” In the movie, Pacino is the devil in disguise as a lawyer and uses the snare of ego and vanity to get his man. It’s a film every Christian should take note of.

I’ve been a senior leader for a long time. There’s been ten years in leadership at CVM and years before that as senior pastor of a large church. In other words, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a boss and, frankly, the move I’m making has seemingly surprised a number of people. “Why on earth would you leave senior leadership to work for someone again?” is a regular question. .

It seems that in the Christian world, this isn’t viewed as a common trajectory for a ‘minor personality’ or senior leader. To be absolutely clear about this, in my new role I will have a day-to—day boss again and will also report to a National Leadership Team that I won’t be part of. Sure, it’s a senior role and I will have a significant amount of freedom, but the fact remains that for the first time in many years I won’t be calling the shots or setting the overall direction or culture of the Movement in which I will serve. I may also have to deal with my leaders not agreeing with my views, and getting on with it anyway without sulking or complaining. I’ll also have to deal with asking for permission again for some things. Strangely, I’m actu- ally looking forward to that (remind me that I said that, sometime next year!).

Senior leadership has many privileges. You are the culture setter. You can make final decisions and you are, in a sense, master of your own destiny on a day-to- day basis. It has its pressures, of course, but the sense of freedom to ‘be’ and to create is a fantastic thing.

However, you also get your ego stroked. You walk into a room and people take notice of what you have to say. You get announced as ‘the leader‘ or ‘the founder‘. You become acknowledged for being successful (if you have been) and you get a seat round the table at some key meetings. You also get invited to some pretty cool places. It’s fun, but if you’re not careful it can play havoc with your sense of self.

As a follower of Jesus, we dance to a different sort of tune where ego and status are the least of our worries. With that in mind, we should be able to take what could be viewed as a ‘step back’ in human terms in order to get the work of the kingdom done. Tough, but true.

My conclusion is this. If we have signed up to follow Jesus wherever he tells us to go and whatever he asks us to do, then we are in a sense his chess pieces to move as he sees fit. Therefore, if as the overall boss of a church, ministry or business (as this applies to all followers of Christ) you aren’t able to move at his request and serve another leadership and lay aside some of your current privileges or status, then perhaps you shouldn’t have been a CEO type in the first place?

You see, I rather suspect that when we die (which we all will) the title or position we had in this life won’t count for very much at all when we meet Jesus Christ. Note to self to remind myself about this column in six months’ time!



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