“Make Your Word Mean Something” is the seventh chapter in John Myer’s new e-book WARNING Contains No Sugar: Honest Words for Aspiring Leaders in the Church. While working with upcoming leaders I have learned to heed the advice given in this chapter the hard way. While I too must always be on guard to ensure that I follow through with my promises, I have too often encountered people who want to be leaders who say one thing but only follow through some of the time. The result is a headache for me and the church as we have to pick up the slack or scramble to cover for the other person.
On my end, when an aspiring leader drops the ball I have learned that blowing them away with harsh words is not the best initial reaction. But ignoring the error is not an option either. Words of grace seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6) is a skill that has to honed as to what to say and when to say it to the person who did not follow through with their verbal commitment. It also takes wisdom to discern how much responsibility to entrust or withhold from the upcoming leader in the future.
I have learned to be extra cautious with those who demonstrate an extra dose of charisma or talk a lot and talk big. It is not that they are less trustworthy than other aspiring leaders, but history has taught me that these aspiring leaders tend to think bigger than their abilities or their commitment levels. Past experience has also taught me that these people tend to be able to inspire other people to do their work for them. Unfortunately for these aspiring leaders, the other members in the congregation tend to fall for this (whether it is intentional or unintentional manipulation) only a couple times before becoming disgruntled and joking about the aspiring leader behind their back.
Those who desire to become leaders in life and in the church would do well to heed the words in the chapter seven of WARNING Contains No Sugar:
Take note: folks might follow talent or charisma for a while, but over the long haul, they follow commitment. Everyone wants to follow someone who believes so strongly in what he’s doing that he (or she) backs it up with energy and follows through You might want to say that to yourself twice a day…
Too many have the habit of volunteering an then sheepishly folding because at the back of their mind there’s always a fire escape. If they become inconvenienced they can simply back out later with no ill effects. Jesus will not fire them. And aside from a little embarrassment, the church will not overly harass them. No doubt we should find the best niche for our gifts. The church ought to be a green house of grace, allowing us to find the best fit for our unique gifts.
In fact, our church allows for limited periods of commitment just so that no one feels stuck in any one place. On the other hand, if you take it too far by dancing in and out of promises every month, you’ll come across like the person who routinely dates around and flirts with commitment, but never gets married. Don’t go there.
As a leader, when you say, “I do,” try to make it count (pp. 24-26).