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Shifting the Weight of Leadership By Larry Gadbaugh

Are you ready to shift the weight of Leadership?

We have all felt the added weight of leadership in this extraordinary season.  

More than ever the people we serve are in greater need of wise, caring, and courageous direction and support. We have been called as leaders to advance our God-given mission to represent Jesus as we equip and mobilize people to love our neighbors.

The Challenges

Opposing worldviews, political polarization, the pandemic, division over mandates, racial strife, social isolation, inflation, and now fear of war in Europe disorients and disconnects us from each other. All while public trust in our institutions and their leaders has eroded. Such pressures exert an even greater burden on the local leadership in our churches, non-profits, businesses, and community agencies. Our resiliency is strained.

Understandably, it’s taking its toll on leaders. A recent Barna study revealed that 38% of pastors have considered quitting their posts, many on the brink of burnout.

Many of our organizations have lost volunteers and staff during the pandemic, for a variety of reasons. And along with many businesses, ministries are having a hard time filling the open positions. This has been the case in our ministry. Greater needs. Reduced capacity. Added stress.

No wonder so many around us feel and act like we’re sheep without a shepherd.

How do we carry this increasing burden our leadership requires us to bear?

First, we need to recognize there can be godly, wise, necessary reasons to terminate and make a change. Pursuing God’s perspective on our leadership will help us discern our way forward.

Here’s my main encouragement:

Shift the weight of your leadership to Jesus.

I don’t want to reduce our challenge to a Hobby Lobby plaque. But I have found grace in my weakness by embracing Jesus’ invitation.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matt 11:28-30

How do we do this? Here are some seed thoughts.

Stick your neck in Jesus’ yoke.

Whose owns the weight you carry? We are stewards, not owners of our calling, position, mission. We represent Jesus in our calling. Every morning, in prayer, I join Jesus’ yoke and ask him to help me keep in step with him. I release the weight of my relationships and responsibilities to him. I still have to exert my own faculties (which he gives me), but I trust his grace is perfected in my weakness.

Lose the weight you’re not meant to carry.

These are seasons of testing, exposing the stuff we can live without. God is always pruning our character to become more like Jesus. Yoking with Jesus will make us better leaders, equipped for the long haul.

 …let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Heb 12:1-2

Jesus’ yoke is a Cross.

Leadership requires dying to self and living in the power of his Spirit. Leading others to follow Jesus requires the cross. The cross involves suffering and sacrifice for the sake of those we lead. In this fallen world, transforming love doesn’t happen without sacrifice

I believe Jesus has crafted a designer, custom-fit yoke for each of us. And he orchestrates our path of leadership in such a way to transform us so we can learn to keep in step with his Spirit. He uses the pressures and trials of life and leadership in that process. And through it all we will more whole-heartedly, single-mindedly lead others to join Jesus in his yoke, focused on the eternal weight of glory that puts everything else in perspective. [II Cor 3:16-18].


Larry Gadbaugh has served as CEO of First Image (Pregnancy Resource Centers) in Portland, Oregon for 20-years. He also serves as Executive Director of Oregon Pregnancy Centers Association. A former pastor, he and Diane are married for 44-years, with five adult children.

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Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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