It's very difficult to manage responsibility effectively in Christian leadership. Often it seems that Christian leaders are burdened, tired and even joyless. CU leadership is no different. Here are three case studies:
Chloe is frustrating her small group co-leader, Harry. She was apparently at first very enthusiastic about leading the group. However, as time has gone on, Chloe’s productivity has declined. She appears less committed to leading studies, constantly asking Harry to stand in for her, and she’s reluctant to take on any extra responsibilities.Ultimately, all of these students need to believe and trust the promises of the gospel and in the character of God in their situations:
Joshua is very passionate about evangelism and Bible study and was delighted when he was asked to be a CU leader. He’s not very bothered about his course and regularly skips lectures to be involved in CU activities. Nor does he work very hard at his essays – after all, he reasons, God is more bothered by eternal fruit than by activities that don’t have eternal importance. Joshua is a talented sportsman but chooses to sacrifice his place in the university team for the sake of being able to encourage his Christian brothers and sisters.
Ollie has a reputation amongst most of the CU for being something of a hero who has a real desire to serve others. He seems to always be the first to volunteer for anything. As evangelism secretary, Ollie has pioneered a number of new initiatives which have gone well. However, underneath the surface, things are not well. Ollie feels exhausted and finds himself constantly telling others how busy and tired he is. He’s not prayed on his own in weeks, and has slipped behind with university work. Nor is Ollie eating or sleeping well. If he was honest with himself (which he normally isn’t) Ollie measures his worth through his accomplishments in CU.
- CU leaders can look lazy for a number of reasons - Chloe may actually be lazy (in which case she needs to discern those things that really are God-given responsibilities), although often seemingly lazy people feel over-burdened by concerns that are not truly responsibilities (therefore leading to perfectionism and procrastination). If the latter were true, Chloe needs to know that God's strength is made perfect in weakness, and let the Spirit do what only he can.
- Joshua tends towards super-spirituality, with a low view of what it means for Jesus to be his Creator - and therefore has a compartmentalised view of worship. He may look spiritual, but in fact he is with-holding certain parts of his life as areas dedicated to the Lord.
- Ollie is a legalist. He is probably using his CU accomplishments as a way of making and keeping himself acceptable to God (and other Christians). He needs to rediscover the truths of God's grace: that Jesus is our perfect righteousness and that we need no other. He needs to stop trying to be what he is not, admit what he is - and then realise that he does not need to prove himself to either God or others.