The leadership process sometimes requires the leader to wait. It requires that the leader exercise patience and grow the necessary influence. There is no doubt that there will be times in every leader’s journey where waiting is the correct move. Waiting is particularly important in the periods where the leader is developing a sense of urgency with those whom he or she is trying to influence.
However, waiting too long is at least as deadly as not waiting long enough. Waiting well requires that when the time is right, the leader stretch the people to lead change. I just finished, Marcus “Goodie” Goodloe’s King Maker. I greatly enjoyed the read. The book examines Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ability to use entertainers and athletes to catalyze change. Towards the end of the book, Dr. Goodloe writes the following about MLK’s leadership: “He refused to believe that the inevitability of time was the best agent to bring about redemptive change” (p. 168).
Dr. Goodloe is highlighting something that all leaders need to understand. Change is inevitable but healthy change is not. Dr. King was not willing to let the Civil Rights Movement depend on the inevitability of time for change, but rather he stepped up and led change. I fear that too many of our churches are waiting on the inevitability of time to change to meet the next generation. They assume that by waiting change will be easier and will happen more naturally.
It is true, time will change the church, but too much waiting will kill it. Do not miss understand me, God will not allow THE church to die out. He will raise up new churches that will embrace a generation and leave those churches unwilling to reach out to the inevitability of time. If you are a leader in the church, whether by position or influence, wait…but wait well, step up and lead change when change is needed.