While visiting a hospital patient I came upon a group of nurses walking a picket line. As I had to cross their line to go inside, I stopped and asked what the protest demonstration was about. Expecting to hear; higher wages, better benefits, shorter hours, I was taken back by their answer: “more competency in the administration of the hospital.”
I told the demonstrator that such a demand should be made in every institution, whether hospitals, schools, or even the church. She smiled and handed me a large 4” badge that read: NO CONFIDENCE IN INCOMPETENCY.
I have that badge on my desk as a reminder of my responsibility to my office of priest, and to the God and Church to whom I serve. It also serves as a placard for others to see, read, and hopefully understands its clear and powerful message.
More and more mediocrity seems to be the standard norm in society. Is it due to decision makers being mediocre, setting a poor example for others that follow, or is there a lack of understanding about what it takes to be a competent leader.
Is it naive to assume that everyone in leadership is genuinely qualified? Some earned the position while others, through a twist of fate, nepotism, dirty politics, or just dumb luck acquired it. We see it in government, we see it in industry, and painfully, we at times see it in the church.
The key to moving beyond mediocrity is to understand what a calling by God implies as did early church leaders that we read of in the Book of Acts (6:4).
Their first priority was to “devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.” Remember that those early church leaders – the Apostles and their assistants – had the responsibility of the entire world as their “parish” to minister. And they devoted themselves to do exactly that.
Two words often used to describe great leaders are bold and passionate. In the Church, passion is not about a certain personality type but a sincere love for Christ, His Church, and her people. A great church leader is to be passionate about the matters of God and the people in his community.
Mediocrity says, “It’s all about me.” At times it can be easy to become caught up in the insignificant, which becomes evident in the lack of any serious accomplishments.
An example tells of an individual walking into a room announcing, “Here I am!” while the other walks in and says: “Oh; there you all are.”
Along with passion comes boldness. A great leader steps out of his comfort zone. His answer to God will always be “yes Lord”. He will put himself into positions where success is only possible if God Himself intervenes.
Examples of such individuals that should be familiar are Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Catholicos Vazgen I, and the saintly Mother Theresa.
These individuals were passionate about their ministry, faith, and Church. They were bold in their approach, unrelenting in their journey and mission. There was not any hint of mediocrity in their leadership character. And each was successful. Why?
They sought God’s face for confirmation of the calling.
They spent time in prayer and preparation.
They looked beyond the walls.
They were passionate and bold about their mission.
And they said goodbye to mediocrity.
Should those who serve, do anything less? Let’s hope not.