As leaders, it often seems like we are leading in more tension than ever before. We are leading a generation with questions, communities that are increasingly disengaging from the church. Humans in a culture that is more polarized and divided than ever before.
So, what do we do?
It all depends on how we look at it. Tension is not necessarily a bad thing. It can even be a good thing, depending on how you look at it. Because what is true is . . .
Trust is determined by how we lead in the tension.
For generations, there was an inherent trust in the church for most communities. It could be assumed that most people had positive feelings towards the church. However, in the last few years that belief has drastically changed. We can no longer assume that people trust the church.
But, trust can be earned.
How we resolve conflict and lead in tension can actually build trust.
We need to ask the question,
“How do we engage our communities and the next generation in such an authentic way that helps them trust the church again?”
We get a clue about what this looks like from Jesus.
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. Matthew 5:1-2 NIV
If you are reading fast, you may miss out on one detail that has big implications for how we lead a generation that is skeptical and has more questions than ever before. Because in this verse we see something that greatly matters: a posture Jesus took.
Jesus sat down.
You know why this matters if you have ever walked into a room to talk to people, and during the conversation, you remained standing. You were probably told something like this,
“Will you sit down? You are making me nervous.”
Something about sitting down communicates,
“I’m here to stay.”
“Let’s learn together.”
“I’m here for conversations.”
Win the Trust of a Generation by Sitting Down
As leaders, we often stand on stages. We can even start to believe that what happens on the stage is the most important part of our ministries.
But, what the next generation really needs are leaders who are willing to sit down with them.
People who are willing to sit down and listen to their questions.
Ones who are willing to build relationships.
People who are willing to ask questions.
If we want to lead the kids and teenagers in our ministries to have a resilient faith we need to . . .
Lead with proximity.
We need to sit with them.
If you want to learn more about how to lead through tension and grow in your personal leadership, check out our Orange Event Course, Leading Humans In The Tension.