It has been my observation that the amount of control that a person attempts to exert over their environment is directly proportional to their level of insecurity. Insecure people feel a need to control their circumstances and the people around them.
This fact makes it extremely troublesome when the insecure person is put in a position of leadership. Insecure leaders tend to micromanage their people and can be very critical of everyone around them.
Now, before we jump all over the insecure people around us, we need to apply the log and speck rule and face our own insecurities. We need to do this because we all have them.
I am learning that for Christians, the antidote to insecurity lies in a proper understanding of how much we are loved by God combined with a proper understanding of his power. In other words, God has been, and will always be, in loving control of what goes on around us. A proper understanding of how much he loves us will allow us to assume that everything will eventually work out well.
When I lose sight of the fact that God is in control, I can allow the insecurities of the people around me (and their corresponding attempts to control me) to push me toward acting out of my own insecurity. When I allow this to happen, things quickly spiral out of control.
Since this blog often discusses church leadership issues, I would like to make a comment or two about insecure church leaders.
I have found that insecure church leaders will often inhibit those they lead from using their gifts to their full extent. Optimally, a church leader should be helping members identify and develop their gifts. The leader will then encourage them to seek opportunities to use those gifts for the benefit of the church body.
Insecure leaders, whether it is consciously or unconsciously done, thwart those in their care and do not allow them to operate in freedom. I can think of two reasons for this:
- Insecurity can cause the leader to attempt to monopolize the attention of the group. If he gets his validation from his position of authority, he will not want anyone else to siphon off some of that validation.
- Insecurity can cause the leader to act out of fear that others would do something that is outside of his vision for the church. The insecure leader will take upon himself authority that is not his since it is Jesus’ church and not the leader’s church.
One of the things I enjoy about presbyterianism is that decisions are to be made by a group of individuals, not a single person. In a true presbyterian church, the elders and pastors have equal authority. Each can speak into the blind spots of the others on the leadership team.
Trusting that God is the one who pulls the leadership team together allows for my insecurities to be negated by the collective wisdom of the other elders. If each elder has this attitude, then none of the leaders will feel the need to control the direction of the church body. We are then in a position to allow Jesus to direct the body.
My experience is that this is never perfectly done. This is because we all have insecurities and our enemy is expert at manipulating use through our insecurities. We act out of selfish, self-protective motives.
As leaders, we need to heed the words of James:
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”James 5:16, ESV
If we are honest about our insecurities with our fellow elders, if we confess our desire to manipulate and control, then Jesus can begin to work through us to build his church.
Perhaps every elder meeting should start with prayers of confession and repentance.