Five Gifts God Gives Leaders Through Disappointment

Hey, Reader! I’m going to confess something to you today.

“Leadership is challenging.”

There, I said it.

If you disagree, please go write a blog – and you are dismissed from reading the rest of mine.

Still here?

Don’t get me wrong, leadership is an absolute joy, but it also comes with its share of pain and disappointment.

When I stepped in to lead the college ministry at Faith three years ago, my vision was to have a group of 100 college students thriving in their walk with Jesus by now.

Enter reality. Enter 2020. Enter disappointment.

As disappointing as that was, my unspoken, painful question in that season was, “If I’m not having the leadership success the way I anticipated, is Jesus even with me?” Ouch. Ever been there?

Blog Reader, the emphatic answer to the question is “YES, he is always with me!” I know this because the Bible says so. But, personally, through a season of leadership disappointment, Jesus taught me to open myself up to and recognize his powerful actions and presence in disappointing seasons of leadership – and they are so good you don’t want to miss them!

Let me give you a quick run-down of my experience with five gifts the Lord gives his leaders in seasons of disappointment.

Clarifying our why. Disappointment as a leader led me to do some soul-searching on why I’m leading in the first place. Was I leading to feel successful? Or was my goal to lead people to a vision that is bigger than me and better for them? God used disappointment with my vanity measure of leadership (100 students) to rekindle my passion that even just one student would grow closer to Jesus. From that perspective, I realized I have much to celebrate in the 35 students who are growing in their walk with the Lord!

Clarifying our vision. I learned that leadership disappointments are God’s gifts to help us mold our vision to be more in tune with his vision. Disappointment in my vision lowered my distraction and led me to evaluate where I saw God moving. Humility led me to another round of conversations with the Lord about the end he is leading us toward. My leadership vision is now more clear and more compelling, and I’m more confident we’re on the way there – simply because it’s a vision I share with Jesus! 

Clarifying our team. In a season where your leadership feels less-than-successful, who has stuck around? In seasons of disappointment, God helps us discern whether we have the right people with us. I’m thankful for the gift of disappointment because it helped me appreciate even more the team the Lord has given to our college ministry!

Clarifying our power. I have always known that my power to lead should come from the Lord. But a disappointing season compelled me to ask Jesus for everything I needed in leadership – and I mean everything. What a gift to be brought to the One who has the power to accomplish a vision beyond ourselves – and then to see him answer!

Clarifying our calling. Yeah, the season was disappointing, but my only other option was to quit. Jesus made it emphatically clear that his calling on my life is still intact. Jesus transformed what started as doubt from disappointment to a crystal-clear re-affirmation of his transcendent call. To know you’re exactly where God wants you is to have the gift of assurance that Jesus didn’t leave – he’s just using our circumstances to train us to lead more like him.

Reader, no matter who you’re leading, whether it’s those pesky kids God gave you at home or a large team at work, may you be blessed to know the Lord is with you in every season.

Leadership is a joy!

There, I said it – and it’s only true because we get to lead with Jesus.

Ben has been attending Faith since 2014. Three years ago, he transitioned from a career in electrical engineering to full-time ministry as Faith’s College Ministry Director. Ben is passionate about teaching the Bible, developing young leaders and discipling college-aged young adults.

Outside of ministry, Ben loves spending time with his wife, Sally, and their 3 boys.  He enjoys all outdoor activities including running, camping, skiing and hiking.