Some of the best advice I was given ahead of moving into a church role was “realize that you must embrace the insanity of the leadership.” One of my favorite professors was relaying the truth that when you work in any environment you are required (if you want to keep you job at least) to embrace the little quirks of your leaders. If the boss wants you to wear a tie, you where a tie; if the boss demand you work from home on Tuesdays, you work from home on Tuesdays. You get the point.
Beyond the reality of this truth though, especially for younger leaders, is recognizing your time to move. Now by this I do not mean move out of the job or context you are in, I mean make you move to influence or incite change in the insanity that exists. I have yet to fully determine how to recognize the time to make the move but some clues might be helpful along the way for you. While the list should be much longer, here are three questions
1. Is everyone restless? If you are the only one on staff maybe this is not the best question (unless you are in a church and all your volunteer leaders are restless) but if your team all seems to be waiting for a refreshing change and are increasingly restless about the way everyone communicates or feels valued then there might need to be some hard conversations about changing some of the systems in place. We do have to be careful that our restlessness is not driven by pride or a “greener grass” mentality but is genuine longing for healthy change. Restlessness in an environment can lead to toxicity which will eventually lead to death.
2. Is the insanity unhealthy? Maybe the mandates or insanity of the institution do more harm than they do help and need to be changed. Are members of your team leaving often in pursuit of a more healthy setting? This is often revealed in staff morale; if the environment is healthy people desire to be there and invest in the vision of the organization. If morale is low or unhealthy, people look for reasons to spend time doing other things and there is no cohesiveness or team mentality. In a church context, are the things that we call insanity biblical or sinful? An unhealthy environment can lead to toxicity which will eventually lead to death.
3. Are you called to the task? Now the last two points reveal if the environment is right for change. This question gets at the question of whether you are the right one for the change or not. Have the circumstances made it clear that your voice should be the one to challenge the insanity or are you better off finding peace with facing the challenge of living in the environment as it is? And for ministry, has the Lord made it clear that your voice is to be the one to stir things up? Now there are a couple of no-brainers hinted at in point 2. If the insanity is sinful, speak out against it. Your faithfulness to God is more important than your submission to cultural insanity. If people are actually being harmed, you need to grow a pair and speak up. It might be difficult and you might be pushed out but it is the right thing to do. But if things are a little more cloudy, you need to make sure what you do is what your are called to do (arguments for sovereignty aside). Pray. Seek counsel. Pray some more. Then act.
In all of this, work for the health and unity of your team and attempt peace. “Rejoice, aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”