Our churches are charged with anxiety. They are charged with anxiety because we have set ourselves up as the ones who have perfect doctrine and practice. Once you have claimed that you will always struggle with anxiety because there is great fear that you will mess something up and ruin your brand.
The only way forward is well differentiated, stable leadership. These are leaders who aren’t bothered by others’ anxiety. Instead of enabling they will leave space for others to live in their anxious moments in order for them to find their own way through to peace.
I grew up with a father who struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder. That means everything had to be perfect. All the rules had to be followed or else anxiety levels rose until compliance was reached.
Our churches and church leadership are often very much like that. It all boils down to whether or not we are going to obey Jesus’ teaching to love our neighbor as ourselves. Notice that is a simile, not a metaphor. Jesus said love them “as” we love ourselves not love them “because they are ourselves.” When we are insecure we want people to be like us in order for us to not feel anxious around them. But God designed his church body to have diversity in it (1 Cor 12). We honor that when we love those who are not like ourselves.
Now for the big ask
For more on this please take an hour to watch this. That is a big ask on your time but I believe the principles in this video should be watched by every elder and church leader. Until our church leadership learns to deal with anxious people by not being enmeshed and becoming as anxious as well, churches will be run by the least emotionally mature person in the room because leadership will only let things run as long as no one complains. That is a scary thought! Would you give one hour of your time to come to a better understanding of your church culture and personal emotional systems? I think that is worth every moment but you tell me…