I once worked at an Urban Youth Center, and when I came in, I was hired to be the “Spiritual Director”. The person that had been leading it for six years was a lady, who knew how everything ran. She just felt that in the midst of doing all the organizational dirty work of keeping the place running, she had lost her vision for the spiritual aspect of the organization. Ultimately, she wanted to point students on the fringes of society to the Savior, Jesus Christ, who truly loves them and desires their repentance and devotion. She hired me in to try to help them to do just that.
When I came into the job, she said over and over again that she didn’t want to be my “boss”, because I think she understood the whole idea of the priesthood of all believers. But at the same time, she had to tell me what I needed to know to help her run the place. She constantly struggled between telling me to do things, and trying to be my co-equal. It was a hard balance, because she had been running the place for so long. I, on the other hand, was brand spanking new to the whole experience. The other thing we figured out is that I wasn’t experienced at running an organization, but was good with relational stuff. She and I were total opposites, and sadly, we had to part ways, because at the time we didn’t understand each other. But by her calling me her “co-equal”, she was asking me to help with making some serious decisions. She was in conflict, because really, she rightfully wanted to make decisions, since the youth center was her baby, and she had been running it well for so long.
It’s hard for anyone to get over one’s own ideas. It’s hard to let others influence you when you don’t always agree. With Jesus Christ, it should be possible for opposing forces to slam together and synchronize. With human beings, it’s often very difficult.
I left the job at the urban youth center after working there six months. I was sad because I really loved the students but was too stubborn to understand the director’s way of doing things.
Three years later I was working part time at a mega church not very far from the youth center. The director and I got together for a bagel not long after I started working at the church. By this time, we had both significantly changed. I would even say we had learned from each other in huge ways. She offered me to come back to work with the youth center part-time again. After a short time of prayer I was compelled to come back and volunteer there again. The director and I have become good friends, allies in the gospel. We both shared a passion to reach people with the gospel, and worked really well together.
When believers really understand their place in the priesthood of all believers, they will be strongly opinionated (yet gracious in communicating) about the things they know they are good at and fully understand, and they will be able to be taught in the areas that they’re weak in. But at the same time, they’ll understand that they have limitations, and can’t be something they’re not. The more we’re realized in Christ, the more truly human we become. We start to realize that we’re merely human beings, and Jesus Christ is totally perfect in every way, yet we’re not at all. However, we have the great privilege in sharing a part of His perfect plan and doing what we’re passionate about to help in advancing His Kingdom. This is where the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ speaking the words of the Father into us and moving us, is so important. We need the Holy Spirit and Christ’s transforming power in order to grow into the warriors for the gospel we’re meant to be.
EVERY leader of EVERY ministry is merely human, and limited in their understanding. If they don’t realize that, they’ll become an autocratic megalomaniac. Everyone needs to be balanced out by people who aren’t like them, and affirmed by people who are like them. That’s the essence of unity, and a necessity within unity through Jesus.