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Leaders who care

James Dobson tells the story of a university student who hanged himself in the basement of his dormitory. Tragic news indeed. To make it worse, no one missed the student until a search began... five days later.

A few years ago, in Stockholm, Sweden, an 84-year-old woman sat for two months on her balcony before a neighbor discovered she was dead. The neighbor thought something was wrong when she saw the woman sitting on her balcony around the clock... in freezing temperatures.

Being unaware, uninvolved, and uncaring is a human tragedy. We may fear sticking our nose in someone else’s business or getting too involved in something that may backfire. As a result, we fail to stop, look, and listen.

Have we lost the fine art of caring for people?

Leaders can fall into the trap of not caring for those they lead. They promote an air of don’t-get-close, don’t-bother-me-I’m-too-busy, or your-performance-is-more-important-to-me-than-who-you-are-as-a-person. Church leaders can exude the idea that bigger budgets, larger facilities, more attendees, and larger staff take precedence over individuals’ needs, especially during this crisis pandemic.

When people grieve, they need a compassionate heart, and a listening ear. When people are low, they need affirmation. When they need to unwind, they need a friend. When they’re ready to quit the rat race or the human race, they need reassurance and the strength to go on.

Read Paul’s words slowly in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 – “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God but our lives as well because you had become so dear to us.”

Those aren’t the words of an arrogant, detached, too busy leader who doesn’t care for people. They’re the words of a servant leader whose affection for people came through loud and clear. He was approachable, accessible, and real.

If you were a university student who knew the student who hanged himself, how long would it have taken you to say, “something’s up? I’ve missed him.” How many times would you have passed by the lady on the balcony without noticing she had not moved? 

Remember. Christ came to save people; human beings with names, personalities, fingerprints, and faces... hurts, wounds, issues, disorders, burdens, and griefs.

Dr. Fred C. Campbell is the founder and president of Living Grace Ministries, a ministry committed to helping churches develop servant leaders. In September of 1998, he became the pastor of Grace Church of Ovilla. He retired from Grace Church in October 2015.

Ellis County Press

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Ferris, TX 75125