*My post here was originally published on May 7, 2015 in Christianity Today.
Isn’t it easier to point out the wrongdoings of others and tell people what to do, rather than be a part of the solution?
My wife and I have noticed this in our children—they love playing the victim. So whenever there’s conflict, instead of figuring it out themselves, they come to us crying out “injustice!”
I wonder where they learned that from? I knew I never should’ve let them watch Sesame Street…
In order to fix this attitude, a few days ago, my wife began teaching them the difference between being bossy and being a leader. Here’s the difference:
- Bossy people point out the wrongdoings of others, expect others to fix their issues, and are never wrong.
- Leaders take responsibility for situations, don’t dwell on problems, focus on solutions, and make change happen.
As I was reflecting on this new paradigm of parenting (my wife is amazing by the way), I couldn’t help but notice the similarities that it had with thermometers and thermostats. Let me explain:
- Thermometers point out what currently is, expect others to do something with that information, and they provide us with the standard—they are never wrong. Thermometers are indicators.
- Thermostats, on the other hand, take the information from the thermometer and do something about it. Thermometers take responsibility for the environment and focus on solutions. Thermostats are change agents.
Can you see the similarities that bossy people have with thermometers and leaders have with thermostats?
So what are you? Are you more of a thermometer or a thermostat? This is an important question as it affects the posture that you will subconsciously take in planting and leading a church.