Everyone knows a leader’s job is to lead. But both leaders and followers sometimes get confused about what leadership should look like. Often the question—as well as the conflict—comes down to the word authority. I’ve done quite a bit of thinking about the place of authority in a Christian leader’s ministry, and I can summarize my conclusions with two sentences:

Servant leaders gain authority through action.

Dictators demand authority through power.

Unfortunately, too many leaders or would-be leaders try the second strategy instead of the first. This is the main reason the whole idea of “authority” has gotten a bad rap.

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A little over a year a year ago a pastor acquaintance took his own life and it shook me to my core. Just over a week ago another pastor that I have proximity to, Jarrid Wilson, took his life as well. This week I decided to repost the blog from over a year ago in hopes that someone who needs it will read it. My prayer is if you read it and need it, reach out and let’s walk the path together. Don’t assume no one wants to hear about your struggle. It is not a bother and I would rather talk about your struggle with you, than give a memorial for you.

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Trevor DeVageComment

You see it clearly, don’t you? You know why it’s there, what’s wrong with it, why you like it or don’t. It’s obvious to you. What you see is the truth, and no one can convince you otherwise.

But if you’re looking at your object through a camera lens, what you see may be distorted. It may appear farther away than it is, smaller. Or maybe you’ve enlarged it to look for a few details that don’t appear at a quick glance. But seeing only those particulars doesn’t give you an accurate picture of the whole. The old saying claims, “Seeing is believing,” but sometimes that leads us to believe something that isn’t true.

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Trevor DeVage Comment

Nobody tells you in Bible college that some church people are just not nice. But I quickly learned how difficult they can be in my first ministry as youth pastor at a small church a little way from the school I was attending in Illinois.

I remember one time in particular. I had just gotten home from a night class I needed to finish up my degree. It was 11:30, and when I checked my email, I discovered a rant from a guy complaining that the decibel level of the music in our student gatherings was too high. (The youth group had swelled to about 60 in a church of 170, and he wasn’t the only one threatened by the growth.)

No sooner had I shut my computer than I got a phone call from a 15-year-old kid in the group who said, “If you can’t get here in the next 20 minutes, I’m going to kill myself.” And I was 40 minutes away from her.

I stood in a corner and said out loud, “God, I didn’t sign up for either one of these things.”

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Trevor DeVageComment