It was the week after Christmas. I was in Nashville with my family. Watching a whole season of 24 during the holidays has become a Murrell family holiday tradition. After unwrapping the latest 24 DVD's, the clock starts ticking. We usually knock out 2 or 3 episodes per night until we finish.
We were watching season 5. Former president David Palmer died a couple of days after Christmas - our time - within a day or two of former President Gerald Ford's (real) death. Two former American presidents dying in the same week. Tragic. As I saw flags all over the city flying at half mast, several times I caught myself thinking of "President Palmer" rather than President Ford - a sure sign of too much 24.
Former US presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton got lots of press, even after they left office. Not Ford. He seemed to become invisible. I have never given much thought to Ford, the man with the dubious distinction of being the only American president who never won a national election. He was appointed VP, not elected, and when Nixon resigned, Ford became President without one single vote being cast for him. The more I watched the tributes to Ford, the more impressed I was with his character, his humility and his leadership style.
Ford seemed to be an accidental president; a man who became president without trying; maybe even a reluctant president.
I can relate to that. Not the pressure, responsibility and stress of being the US President, but of finding yourself in a position you never pursued and never asked for. I never wanted to be a spiritual leader. I just wanted to follow Jesus.
When I first went into the ministry, I never wanted to be a pastor, especially not a "senior" pastor. I was content to stay behind the scenes and help my pastor. But somehow, I am still not sure how it happened, I ended up being the lead pastor. I never wanted that job and I never sought it, but it seemed to want me.
That's the story of my life and ministry. Maybe that is your story too. Maybe you never wanted to be a leader, but then you turned around and people seem to be following you. Scary.
Maybe you are leading a small group of people who, for some strange reason, look up to you as a spiritual mentor. Maybe you woke up one day "in the ministry" and you are still not sure exactly what that means or how that happened. Maybe you are in way over your head in a leadership position in your office, on your campus or in some level of government service. Or, maybe you are a parent simply trying to lead your family.
No matter what type of leader you are, I hope this blog encourages, inspires and helps you. I am not writing only to professional and well-trained leaders, but to anyone who finds himself in a place of leadership and is sometimes not sure what do to next.
Let me know what you think about my musings of a reluctant leader. Thanks.