This past week had been a roller coaster ride of emotions. As I prepared to begin our new series RUN at City on a Hill Church I began to experience some really weird emotions and feelings. Saturday January 22, 2011 marked a full year since January 22, 2010 when I had purchased the domain name http://www.cityonahillchurch.tv as a point of faith after an intense defining moment in my life. It was a point where I was at my lowest and looking to run from my call not like Jonah, he ran because he didn’t want the Ninevites to be saved, rather my temptation to run came because I didn’t think I could win. I live by a core value that I will never lock eyes in this life with someone who doesn’t matter to God. Ministry had been transformed from a calling into a career and I didn’t feel effective or fulfilled any more. I wanted to run. My feet had almost slipped and I almost lost hope in the church and her mission. I needed a defining moment. I needed to come clean. I needed to be transparent. My wife came home one day last January and she knew something was wrong. She asked and at first I was tempted to stay frosted and tinted but my pain was too great. I broke down and told her what was happening. I told her how I felt. I told her I was defeated. I told her I couldn’t do it anymore I knew there had to be more to ministry than what I was doing and if there wasn’t I was done. I told her while teaching a men’s lesson I heard a speech that said, “Run and you will live for a little while. But one day while lying on your death bed you would be willing to trade every day from that to this for one chance to stand up and say you may take my life but you will never take my freedom.” This was my chance to stand up. It struck a cord within my soul. I opened up to her and shared my struggle. My transparency built a trust in her and she looked me in my face and said, “I will not stand by and watch you die slowly over the next 20, 30, or 40 years. You were made for this. You were made to be a pastor. I don’t care whatever it costs us I believe in you and the call God has placed in you.” We cried together because we knew the cost would be high. I learned a very valuable leadership lesson that day. True transparency will bring about trust and loyalty in those whom God has called you to lead. A few days later I purchased the domain name and began a season of prayer and fasting calling that which wasn’t, City on a Hill Church, as though it was. After all that is what faith is, isn’t it? Since that time I have continued to lead this church with the highest level of transparency. Not false transparency to get people to do what I want or to manipulate the hearts and minds of others but true transparency designed to bring about spiritual, mental, and emotional help and healing. You can’t fake authenticity you either have it or you don’t. Over the past nine months there have been times when I have had to call out things that many wouldn’t in order to maintain a high level of trust and transparency. If I see or sense a bit of heaviness or uncertainty I call it out and deal with it rather than denying it and letting it fester under the surface. It takes courage to exhibit true transparency but the benefits far exceed the cost. As a leader and a pastor I am not superman. Jesus is the super hero. Meekness is not weakness it is power under control knowing you have the ability to act and choosing how you will respond. This past weekend as I prepared to take the stage in our servant’s service I felt like I wanted to run. I felt like I had been running. I had a tough week last week dealing with all kinds of attacks from the enemy of our soul. It was so strange I didn’t feel like I could look people in the eyes and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ without first coming clean. I have learned that once you have lived a life a true transparency nothing else will do. Every week since we started this journey I have looked men and women in the eyes and preached from my heart. This past weekend I was busted up inside and I felt it would have been inauthentic and plastic to preach without first trusting my leaders to carry this burden with me. So I stepped up and remained totally transparent before the people God has called me to lead and spilled the beans. I shared my struggles of the past week and month and put my heart out there. Many leaders say, ‘The people can’t handle that kind of truth.” I say that is a lie. Some say, “The people won’t understand you shouldn’t be so honest they might lose faith in you.” I say put your faith in God and trust Him. I am but a man. True transparency gives us the freedom to live the life God has called us to live and ability to be sure God gets all the glory due His name. Do you know what my reward has been for being so transparent? Since yesterday I have received numerous phone calls, emails, facebooks messages, and texts expressing a deep trust and love for me and the call God has placed on my life. Men and women have assured me that they are fully and firmly committed to seeing the vision of City on a Hill Church accomplished in this city. Let me assure you of one thing I know to be true, people can spot a phony a mile away. If we want to build God’s kingdom above our own empires we are going to have to walk the humbling yet powerful road of true transparency. If we want to be leaders that last we are going to have to create a culture of trust and transparency in our families, churches, businesses, where ever God has called us to lead. If you haven’t been living a life of true transparency maybe it is time to get out the windex and begin. The first step is always the hardest to the rewards far exceed the risk. I hope this helps someone this week. Blessings.
Leadership Lesson: True Transparency