Updated: Jan 27
I'm not a golfer but I know enough to know that there is a sweet spot" when hitting a golf ball. When you find it the ball flies longer and straighter than when you don't. Cricketers and footballers talk about the same concept. When you hit the "sweet spot" there is an effect that goes far beyond the effort expended.
In Christian leadership there is also a sweet spot. It's that place where feeling inadequate and being full of faith are held in perfect tension. It shows itself when we are facing a challenge that we don't believe we can overcome, but we take it on anyway because we believe in God's power working in us to bring success.
That's the place you want to try to continually live in as you lead. There is a tendency however to "hook or slice" and veer off to one side or the other.
On the one hand, we can become over-confident. When I started out in ministry I used to continually pray the prayer of Solomon: "Lord, give me wisdom!" I was afraid of messing up the ministry and messing up young people's lives through poor decisions and bad advice. I needed God to guide and direct me, so convinced was I that I couldn't do this but God could do it through me.
In time though I started to drift from this sweet spot. Subconsciously I started thinking things like, "This is going to be a great programme - even if God doesn't show up!" and "I know what this person with a problem should do - I don't need to seek God."
Now of course I didn't consciously think and say these things. It was more subtle than that. I just prayed less.
There is another opposite but equally dangerous extreme that drags us away from the sweet spot. It's the tendency to fear to the point that our sense of inadequacy overpowers our faith in God to work through us.
I've recognised that tendency creeping into my own leadership when I've been less willing to take risks. "Can I do this? What if it doesn't work? How will failure reflect on me?" These thoughts drag me away from the sweet spot and cause me to value my renown and desire for praise over Gods renown and the praise He is due.
What's your tendency - your greatest temptation, when it comes to maintaining the leadership sweet spot? Do you tend to "hook" - relying on yourself more than God? Or do you more often "slice", avoiding risk because of the fear of failure?
Maintain your sweet spot the same way a golfer maintains theirs. Examine yourself and with determination, apply correction. You might risk over-correction at first but practice, practice and practice until your approach and behaviour are straight and true again.