I just finished watching the ESPN Documentary "The Last Dance" about the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls on their run to championship #6 and Michael Jordan's last season with the Bulls. I grew up a HUGE basketball fan (go Hoosiers) and was obsessed with MJ since his days at North Carolina. I used to stick my tongue out when I went in for a layup and I practiced his fade away jump shot for hours in my driveway. I had his posters on my wall and watched every game.
But now, many years later, I was a little sad to see this up close version of Michael's story. In the documentary he doesn't come across so well. He is mean, condescending and more than a bit arrogant. He is kind of a bully to be honest. By the end of the 10 part series I thought two things
1. He is the greatest player ever (way better than LeBron)
2. I do not want to be his teammate
But there was one section in one of the final episodes that I did think, "well, that's commendable" and in it he tells us that he never asked his teammates to do anything that he didn't do himself. He pushed them hard, but he also pushed himself just as hard or harder. He ran all the laps, did all the weight lifting and worked to set an example of excellence for others.
I do not consider myself an expert on leadership and most of what I do well as a leader I just steal from Jesus (the perfect leader). Jesus always led by example. He didn't just tell us to care for the needy, he did it. He didn't just tell us to love our enemies, he prayed for the men who crucified him on the cross. He didn't just tell us that kids are important, he welcomed them to himself. Jesus always walked the talk.
Leadership these days isn't easy. Many people right now disagree with each other and trying to keep the peace in a diverse group is gonna be tough (likely some of you will disagree with a few things I say or do over the next few months as we try to get back from this pandemic) and so I want to make a few promises.
1. I will do all I can to care about you, love you, listen to you and pray for you.
2. I will do my best to lead us well and wisely
3. I will probably make mistakes
4. I will lead by example.
As I have from the first day I was at Six Points, I will not just ask you to give to the ministry here, but I will contribute financially to the cause. I will not just say that servant leadership matters, I will model it by taking the worst parking spot and eating last at every meal. I will try to tell you how I think we should love each other, and then model it by showing grace to each other when we disagree.
We have interesting days ahead, and there are likely going to be some bumps in the road and so I will be praying the prayer that Jesus taught us in John 17 for unity in the church. Would you join me as we pray together that God will draw us closer during this season and not tear us apart?
that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.