A leading voice on the subject of spiritual formation, John Ortberg brings the heart of a pastor and the insight of a trained psychologist to address issues of character and motivation in the life of a leader.
John Ortberg is a highly acclaimed writer and speaker and is the senior pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California. He is the best-selling author of many books including God is Closer Than You Think, Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them, and, most recently, When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box. Ortberg served as the teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church from 1994 to 2003 and earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fuller Seminary.
“The Leader’s Greatest Fear”
- What is it? Fear of failure? Mutiny? Criticism? Leadership is disappointing people at a rate they can stand. All of these are recoverable.
- The greatest fear is not something that can happen to us but what can happen in us.
- Shadow Mission: Center life on something that is unworthy, dark or self-centered. This can happen to people, whole congregations, companies and leaders.
- Based on Esther
- Mordecai challenges Esther when she explains that she doesn’t want to go to the king…”for such a time as this”…You haven’t brought to this point in your life to wear expensive clothes but for justice and to oppose a man who is vile and evil…to be part of God’s plan for the world.
- Esther asks for three days of fasting and prayer. “When done I will go to the king even though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” (And a woman beauty queen saves all the men in the story.)
- What is your shadow mission? Except for the help of God, what would you drift toward? Can you name it? If you don’t know it, it’s hard to fight it.
- What’s the shadow mission of your church? Israel’s shadow mission was to be exclusive. Rome, to build an empire. Jesus got caught in the cross-hairs of several shadow missions. What if your shadow mission was out in front of our church? “Successfully avoiding conflict since 1893.” “Not growing but criticizing those that do.”
- Who is Mordecai in your life? Who loves you enough to challenge your shadow mission. If you don’t know your shadow mission, everyone on your team does.
- Courage is indispensable but it’s not enough. Esther is savvy and invites him to a party. Her timing is breathtaking.
- Hamon’s shadow mission is called MORE. More status, power, etc. One indicator is a chronic sense of soul dissatisfaction. More never brings contentment. Who is more content, the man with a million dollars or the man with twelve children? The man with twelve children because he doesn’t want any more.
- In the end many people from other nations become God-followers and all because one man is willing to challenge the shadow mission and one woman is willing to adopt her real mission.
- Jesus is our model here. He was tempted like us in every way. Likely faced his shadow mission…to be the leader without suffering, the Messiah without a cross. In the dessert…Peter’s rebuke…ways we don’t even know the agony all the way to the Garden of Gethsemane…on the cross challenged to save himself. At a cost we’ll never understand he says NO.
- Our little lives and missions are part of God’s great mission. God isn’t mentioned but God is clearly behind it all, orchestrating everything. Even in the exile, God is at work behind the scenes and his purposes are served. Lead with courage because God is at work behind the scenes. Who knows that you have come to your position for such a time as this.
- Some shadow missions are kept secret and that may be worse than being exposed. If God wants to do surgery on your heart, open up as wide as you can.
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