Monday, June 17, 2013

Vital vs. Best (2 Timothy 2:23-26)

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

One of the keys to good leadership is the ability to distinguish between that which is vital and that which is simply best.

There are certain things—ideas, methods, approaches, beliefs, etc.—which are essential to the movements, communities and projects that we lead. They are the things that we cannot do without.

However, there are also things which are merely the best. They are things that we know from experience or from others’ experience (or that we simply believe to be) the best of many ways forward. Sometimes the biggest mistake leaders make is to insist on “the best” from those they lead. Instead of making progress and allowing people to advance in their own way, they gum up the process by insisting that people attempt things that they are not capable of, that they don’t believe in, or that they are not gifted to do.

In the areas of doctrine and faith this is often one of the most important things to grasp, and yet it is also an area where it is hardest to achieve. Some leaders see their views on pet, side issues as being more important than they really are. Some get so caught up in these arguments over extraneous issues that they fail to ensure a correct understanding of the vital doctrines. Even in areas where error may exist in such, minor teachings, it is often better to lay them aside in favor of more vital teaching. The side issues can correct themselves over time or simply don’t deserve the time and effort that can be spent on truly important issues.

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