Monday, January 17, 2011

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Lame Ducks

In the field of Christian leadership, we need a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Lame Ducks (SPCLD). Having gone through three transitions of leadership as a lame duck, I think that I would qualify as a charter member. Lame ducks may be leaders who have retired, resigned or been relieved of their CEO position but continue until they have filled out their term or reached the date of their departure. Lame ducks may also be interim CEO’s who continue to serve after their successor has been announced.

John the Baptist is my favorite lame duck. He teaches us almost everything we need to know about “lame-duckism.” To begin, John held the #1 position until his successor came into view. Then, swallowing his pride, he had to accept the #2 position and even introduce the new #1. Yet, in that lesser role, John remained faithful and kept doing what he was called to do even though his followers left him for the new leader. It soon became obvious that he had to get out of the way. The reality of that fact caused him to express his doubts and wonder if his life had been worthwhile. Although reaffirmed by his successor, he still came to the end of his time not knowing how history would judge his leadership.

But wait. When Jesus went across the Jordan to the place where John did his baptism, the people testified, “Though John never performed a miraculous sign, everything he said about this man was true.” Consequently, “In that place many believed in Jesus.” (John 10:41-42). Never underestimate the power of a lame duck. Even though it walks with a limp, it can still fly.

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