“If you’re leading, you’re bleeding,” writes Samuel R. Chand in his new book, Leadership Pain.
That five-word sentence captures a crucial truth about leadership in general, and pastoral leadership in particular. Leadership is hard work. Rather than avoiding that hard work, Chand urges ministry leaders to embrace it.
Pain comes in many forms. Chand writes: “some of our pain is self-inflicted, the accumulation of unrelieved stress. Some is the result of external challenges, and we suffer heartaches and headaches because we’re trying to grow and fulfill God’s purposes for our churches.”
Consequently, he goes on to say, “The goal, then, is sometimes to avoid pain, sometimes to relieve pain, sometimes to create the pain of growth, but always to learn the lessons God has for us in the midst of our pain.”
Leadership Pain shifts back and forth between these two emphases, between identifying the form of pain and naming the goal in responding to it.
Two lessons in the book stood out in particular to me, or rather, two quotations: The first comes at the beginning of the book, in which Chand offers this hypothetical syllogism:
Growth = Change
Change = Loss
Loss = Pain
Thus, Growth = Pain
The second comes at the end, when Chand writes: “Don’t run from your pain. Don’t deny that it exists. It’s the most effective leadership development tool the world has ever known. You’ll only grow to the threshold of your pain, so raise it!”
There’s a lot of wisdom in those two observations, as well as in the intervening pages of this book.
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