The Importance of Staying Vulnerable as a Leader

Accountability and support for church leaders

Vulnerability can be seen from a pastor’s perspective as a weakness in their leadership ability. Could a vulnerable pastor lead to extending value in the hearts of their members?

Researcher and author Brene Brown wrote, “Vulnerability is not winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.” Why is it that pastors cannot show their vulnerable side to others? Is it out of fear of letting others see their failure or exposing their faults?

The church today is much different than the church from yesteryear. The members want an authentic leader who shares truth in their daily walk with Christ. They want a leader who leads by example, and part of that is admitting they need help. Think about how many pastors would have been saved from falling from grace if they had only opened to their pain, insecurity and unsettled spirit by sharing their true self with others.

1. Consult With the Creator in Times of Uncertainty.

Prayer is the most effective way to hear from God. Many pastors get so busy preparing (preparing for a service, a bible study, or small group) and they miss preparing their hearts to hear from God daily. When a leader fails to consult with God, they will surely fail to lead well. At first, it can be hidden, but over time the lack of consulting with the Creator will be exposed in their actions or words. God has created us for daily fellowship. Throughout the history of God’s Word, when man’s action is focused on self instead of Savior, that is when man fell into sin. Consulting with the Creator in times of uncertainty creates opportunities for accountability, correction, forgiveness and grace.

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2. Seek Out Godly People Who Will Be a Part in Propelling Your Future Forward.

Every leader should know that not everyone should know everything about them, but someone should know enough to hold them accountable, so be selective. Vulnerability with the right person or groups can help the pastor see blind spots, encourage their soul, and challenge their thinking. Vulnerability in the right hands can allow the leader to open up and unburden their heart so that the person can share Christ-love back with them. Leaders need to find other leaders that they can trust. What type of leader do you need? Is it another pastor, a few key leaders in the local church, a mentor or a friend from long ago? Whomever the leader chooses, it should be someone who has permission to speak truth into their spirit. Without truth, the darkness of sin will take over.

3. Be Open to Giving a Piece of You For the Peace of Godly Knowledge and Support.

For the most part, pastors are leaders. They are A-type personalities who are on a mission from God. They do not take pushback easily and can find it hard to open up to others. When pastors stay vulnerable, they stay valuable to others because they become an example, not the exception, of how a Christian in the pew can live their life.

Each year a headline comes across streaming platforms about a well-known pastor taking their life because of the burdens they carried or a sex scandal due to the perceived pressures of ministry. If we have learned one thing over the decades, it is that pastors need to give a piece of themselves to others to find peace in knowing they are supported and valued.

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4. Wait for Your Time; Do Not Try to Force What Is Not Ready to Birth.

If the leader is not ready to be open with someone, they should at least be prepared to be honest with themselves that the leader needs a partner in their spiritual walk. For many, it starts with acknowledging the need for help, seeking counsel and finding an ear to listen and provide wisdom.

God can and should be the first friend a leader turns to, but over time they also need a friend who will hold them accountable and have permission to speak truth into their lives. Leaders need others, but they cannot be forced into a relationship. It has to be an authentic relationship built over time, through small acts of daily interaction where trust can be built slowly. The leader cannot rush the new birth of a vulnerable friendship, but it can become the right relationship for both parties with God’s help over time.

If leaders have learned anything in the past year, they cannot do it alone. Opening up oneself, sharing with others and being a ministry partner can sustain the leader even in the dark hours of their ministry.

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