Hold To Your Own View
Church leaders face tremendous pressure to think and act alike. When you show creative thinking and innovative leadership others may criticize and even get angry.
It’s not just true at church. Some time ago I came across a gallery exhibit of the paintings of Ralph Rosenborg, (1913-1992) a contemporary and friend of abstract painters Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. Rosenborg painted small paintings, even when the others were going to huge canvases. Mark Woolley, the gallery owner, said, “Ralph always said he liked the idea of creating easel-sized paintings that people could put under their arms and walk out of his studio.” But Pollock and Rothko were not happy with him when he didn’t follow their move to the larger format. Pollock even accused him of desertion. You can see a few of Rosenborg’s works here: http://www.caldwellgallery.com/bios/rosenborg_biography.html.
Saying “I”—“I believe,” “Here I stand,” “I will do this,” “I won’t do this,” requires strength and maturity. It can be dangerous. The forces for togetherness, the pressures to say “We,” with a chorus of others, are always at work. But, risky or not, people respond to leaders who can take a stand and move in a direction. When you are able to express your unique view of the world, your unique hopes for the future, chances are you will spark something in your followers, or some of them, which will move you all a little further forward.
Ralph Rosenborg had his own view of the world. He resisted the conformity that was being pressed upon him. And looking at the intimate, vivid canvases he produced, I felt that spark; I was surprised by his work. It attracted me. If I could have bought one of the canvases on the spot, I would have.
Leaders with a compelling vision are attractive to followers in a way that conforming leaders are not. People sense the substance, they want to be a part of it. Creativity is not limited to artists; people can together create a ministry work of art that has not existed before.
We don’t serve our churches well when we simply look for the latest technique or quick fix. The gift we bring is our own vision, and our ability to share that with our followers.
None of this is easy. When the pressure comes, it can seem unbearable to hold out for your own dream. And realistically, external factors can hold you back. Ralph Rosenborg never achieved the renown of his colleagues. Church culture, budget, and for staff, the senior pastor’s approach, always place some limits. It pays to be honest about these, and to be patient. It won’t happen overnight. Don’t get reactive when others react to your vision. Stay calm and stay connected even to those who disagree.
Yet when you steadily and clearly hold on to the the dream, you can serve not only your own needs but your followers and the wider church
© 2015 Creator Magazine All Rights Reserved