By Tony Twist
Ah, leadership! Do we even have a prayer?
Lately I’ve been thinking there is much to be said for “muddling through and keeping your nose clean.” I know that’s not very profound. But not “muddling through” has certainly short-circuited many with much greater leadership skills and potential than I. So, first things first: stay on the path and out of the dirt.
Joe Dampier, one of my mentors at what is now Emmanuel Christian Seminary, used to tell us: “Boys, you’ve got to sink your wells deep so you don’t wind up sucking mud.” We would all laugh, but his admonishment has stuck with me through the years.
Devotional deepening matters. The devotional life of a young person will not sustain those in midlife or later. For good or bad, my whispers now have more potential than my youthful shouts. So, deeper roots and quiet streams increasingly mean more.
I suppose it boils down to whose I am becoming. Will I be mine or his? And this struggle never ends. What Yazoo City comedian/theologian Jerry Clower used to call the “carnal, redneck nature” (CRN) keeps getting in the way. It seemingly is conquered, and then, suddenly, it comes back with a vengeance. Old struggles, temptations, and problems cycle back around in the next season of life and service.
Maybe aspects of the CRN do get “dealt with” at each stage of growth. But, really, only as deeply as it can be handled at the time. When there is more pressure, responsibility, and stress, it comes back for deeper treatment.
So, I now have two prayers, which I pray in the most heartfelt manner possible.
First, “Father thank you so much for including me in your work.” God does not have to include us. But he does, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
Second, “Father, please don’t let me mess it up.” I think of ministry as climbing a mountain. It gets harder as you near the summit. You cannot coast to the top. And, the higher the elevation, the bigger the fall!
So, when it comes to leadership, I believe progress is important. And here’s the question: am I making progress? I think so.
I’ve gone from “not a prayer” to two of them!
Tony Twist serves as president with TCM International and European Evangelistic Society.