We all know the essence of accountability and how important it is for us to have leaders in our lives that point us toward the calling God has bestowed upon us. If you follow my posts, you will note I’ve done several on covering: things we need to do when we are covered, as well as things coverings need to do. It’s a balancing act that has challenges and complications on both ends and requires a partnership and growth for both coverer and covered to become all they can be.
It can be difficult to find the right balance needed in leaders today. The reason for this is because so many different concepts of leadership exists, and the process of selecting a leader thereby becomes confusing. Many people errantly are drawn under leadership that can be bad for them. A leader may come along and seem great in some ways, promising in some, and even powerful in others, but something gnaws at us telling us something isn’t ringing true. There are some leaders that we just shouldn’t attach ourselves to because they aren’t going to benefit us in any way, shape, or form – and inversely, we can’t benefit them. The list below of leaders to beware applies to both being covered AND to covering, and are just good signs to avoid in general, whether in a leadership, follower, friendship, or ministerial alliance capacity.
The Prissy Preacher – We’ve all met them. The preacher who just HAS to fly first class, HAS to have an entourage follow them everywhere to make sure they’re “taken care of,” HAS to have their water temperature “just right” or they will spit it out or make a fuss, HAS to spend $100 for dinner…and then doesn’t even give in the offering. This is the “Prissy Preacher,” the minister who has to have everything “just so” or just can’t do ministry. The problem with prissy preachers is that people accommodate them. If we step back and truly examine preachers who behave like this, they often aren’t that great at ministry; there are lots of other people without so many requirements who will do a better job. They get their positions and reputation in ministry because of who their parents are or who their leaders are. They throw tantrums, start arguments, and get their own way through a childlike intimidation. When they don’t get their own way, they start lecturing on “integrity.” Let’s define integrity, shall we? It means not acting like a spoiled, prissy child.
The Chatty Cathy – In today’s church, people seem to need to talk, a lot, about everything. I am not one to throw stones here – I know how difficult it can be to get people to listen and that means when we are going through things, we talk to those who will listen. We need to be selective about what we share and to whom, however. I’ve known coverings who reveal all their personal details to those they cover – and this is totally and completely inappropriate. The people we cover aren’t sounding boards for our emotional or life situations. On the inverse, I’ve covered people who delve into very personal and inappropriate details with me because they simply “want to talk.” People who talk too much – too often – and about too many things need to be avoided because you better believe gossip is a rampant issue with these types. If they talk so freely about others and themselves – you better believe you aren’t getting the full story about them and they won’t hesitate to talk about what they know of you (or feel they know of you) when you’re not within earshot. It’s fine to talk to friends, it’s fine to talk to co-workers in ministry – but as an apostle I heard recently speak, “Talk to an equal – or a superior – not a subordinate.”
The Solicitous Scheister – Everyone needs to beware connecting to a leader who comes and tells you they “want” to be your covering or that God has “revealed” to them that they are to be your covering. Covering is a drawing between the leader and the person under them. It is a positioning for power, purpose, and destiny. It is not something where one person gets a revelation and then has to convince the other person of it. Covering is not a con-job. It’s not convincing someone you are a leader that is worthy of covering them: it is being a worthy leader, and that speaking for itself. When someone is a good leader, they don’t need to solicit people to be under their covering. Beware the leader who makes all sorts of advances on you to be under them – they are up to no good and they know it!
The Used Car Salesman – A used car salesman will say anything, do anything, lie, cheat, or steal to sell you a lemon of a vehicle. The used car salesman as a leader is someone who will do anything to make you think they are the greatest leader in the world, and at any cost. You can have the world, and then some…if you will only come under their leadership. They promise to pay for things in your ministry, help you out, do this, that or something else…and it’s all a big lie as they sell you themselves: one big lemon of a leader. These are leaders who are into making themselves look good – they will polish up nicely, present perfectly, and even say and do all the right things…but underneath, there is nothing there. I know it’s tempting to jump head-first into a situation where a leader promises to do things left, right, and sideways. It’s a big temptation to come under a leader who promises to pay for various items, give you opportunities, or someone who just seems well-connected and acts interested in what you are doing. Just remember: underneath all that shiny polish is one big lemon you don’t want to entertain at the end of the day.
The Sperm Donor – I use this term to be funny….but also to make an illustration. When a man donates to a sperm bank, his sample or samples can be used to impregnate any number of women. He may not know how many and may not know who they are, but he knows he has “spawned” any number of children – with no relationship with them whatsoever. Ever meet one of those people who insists they cover hundreds or thousands of people? Odds are good, this person is using the term very loosely. They may have some sort of association or institute by which people are offered some kind of education, but they have no knowledge of those people, don’t talk with them, couldn’t recognize them from a hole in the wall, and don’t even know who any of them are. Beware these people who may sound really famous, but are just empty ministers who are terrible leaders. Their claims are a lot bigger than their fruit…which becomes obvious when you consider it is not possible to cover hundreds and thousands of people. It is possible to have that many people follow or interested in a ministry, but it is not possible to be the covering for and truly impact that many people in a covering context.
The Crisis Creator – All of us in ministry encounter problems. We all have difficulties, crisis, and things we face because ministry is a hard walk. Then there are those who seem to have crisis…after crisis….after crisis…with no end in sight. People who constantly attack disaster don’t understand warfare. They don’t know how to fight the enemy and overcome victorious, which means they are constantly in situations to be attacked. The avoidance of crisis comes about through discernment, which they clearly lack. These people can easily become spiritually and emotionally draining because they constantly need something from those around them. This is especially true because they tend to lose support systems because they are always ‘going through’ something and people long become tired of dealing with them and their issues. When someone is in crisis after crisis after crisis, they thrive on the attention of misfortune and don’t have any intention of developing true warfare strategy to get where they need to go to be victorious in ministry. People like this create crisis and stress for others, and should be avoided for this reason.
The Drama Driver – Akin to the crisis creator is the drama driver. The drama driver too thrives on crisis after crisis. The difference between the two is that the drama driver seeks to create drama in the lives of everyone around them – not just for themselves. They thrive on the division chaos creates and takes every possible opportunity to seem like the answer to every problem. They do not have a legitimate call and seem to be unable to minister or offer their gifts without creating a crisis. Ministries can’t handle constant drama. In order to maintain a sense of decency and order, every good minister knows the importance in maintaining a sense of peace. Drama drivers can’t handle peace because it doesn’t give them the opportunity to rise up and appear more competent than everyone else. The drama driver creates the situation then becomes critical and judgmental about the way others handle it – because, naturally, nobody can handle it better than they can! Well, of course not – the drama driver created it so they know exactly what to do to fix it! Manipulation, manipulation, manipulation!
The Parasite – Parasites survive and thrive by feeding off their host. A ministry parasite does the same thing: they feed, thrive, and survive by feeding off the host of a good minister or ministry. In actuality, they may have little to no direction for their work, no purpose in ministry, and no real ministerial call, to speak of. They operate by usurping the anointing of those around them. They seem small, but they are mighty, and have this way of reproducing themselves until they destroy whatever is in their wake.
The Lazy Daisy – Remember being assigned to a group project in school? Remember the kid you hated being assigned to work with because you always wound up doing all the work and they always wound up taking all the credit? Well these are those kids we worked with back then all grown up. Maybe grown up is the wrong term: they are bigger, not grown up. Excuses abound with the leader who is just, simply put, lazy. They don’t ever follow through on what they said they would do. They are just so busy (doing nothing), they aren’t able to complete their promises. Lazy ministers often expect other people to do their work for them and “piggy back” on the anointing of those who are ready, willing, and able to work. The problem with lazy ministers is that, well, they are lazy. They don’t pull their own weight but are the first to take the credit when something is noteworthy or praised. When working with others, everyone should bring their own part, their own gift, their own participation, and we should work together. Lazy leaders who are afraid to work or get their hands dirty are leaders who don’t deserve to participate in the first place.
“Doesn’t Work And Play Well With Others” – Remember Kindergarten? We got marks for certain things: coloring inside the lines, staying in our place in line, cutting on the straight line, and working and playing well with others. The ministers I am talking about weren’t the ones who worked and played well with others – they got the mark on their report card that said, “Runs with scissors.” As much as all of us hate it, ministry is largely about our ability to interact with others. We can be the best preachers in the world, the most prolific leaders and teachers, but if we can’t interact with others in a dignified and gracious manner, we are not going to get very far in ministry. We need to be able to handle basic interactions without a ton of aggression, throwing a fit, bursting into tears whenever someone doesn’t like us, or second-guessing every comment geared in our direction. Not everyone in the church is going to get along with everyone else – it’s a simple and true fact. We aren’t going to like everyone, and everyone isn’t going to like us. The problem is when someone is consistently at odds with EVERYONE they seem to come in contact with. Beware people who just seem to be against everyone because it won’t take much for them to become against you, too.
The Big Baby – It’s amazing to me how immature some leaders are. Gone are the days when they steal toys when no one else is looking, throw temper tantrums because they don’t want to go to bed early, and pout because they don’t like what’s served for dinner. Now these ministerial big babies steal anointings, ideas and gifts, throw temper tantrums because somebody puts them in their place, and pouts because nobody thinks they are as fantastic as they perceive themselves to be. Big babies are always getting angry, their feelings hurt, offended, wounded, and feel perpetually “picked on.” They cannot take correction or stand in the face of trial because they simply do not have the ability to handle it. Not much fun to be around or much fun to cover, big babies disgrace the ministerial office with their childish nonsense, reasoning, and misappropriated behavior. Correction to such a person causes them to pout and retaliate in some immature way. It’s always somebody else with them – they accept no responsibility. Being around a big baby is exhausting – not to mention, can be discrediting.
The Disorganized Disgrace – I am the first one to admit I am not the world’s neatest person. I am, however, a person who is very organized despite not being neat. I am able to finish what I start and maintain projects and information. When dealing with the issue of disorganization, we need to be careful not to mistake neatness for organization – because the two are very different. A disorganized disgrace is someone who can’t keep up with the basics of ministry. They are forever falling behind, misplacing things, and unable to complete basic tasks because they just do not apply themselves to ministry. In essence, a disorganized minister has issues with order in general: they may take issue with authority within the five-fold, dislike titles, carry issues of rebellion against authority and behave in manners of disobedience, and, most especially, take issue with God’s order. Disorganized ministries don’t get much done. They talk a lot, have a lot of hypothetical events, tell people about this, that or something else, but nothing ever comes out of their talk. This is different than sharing a vision that takes some time to come to pass: the point is that all they do is talk about things but don’t display the needed discipline to bring anything to pass. Disorganized disgraces are tiresome to work with: they are argumentative, disordered, and don’t want to hear anything they don’t want to deal with. Their lives operate on a chaos that cannot be considered legitimate ministry.
The Suffocating Lid – Some people don’t have a covering – they have a lid. The lid stifles every idea, thought, and vision they have. They are all about control: controlling the vision, controlling the person, dominating their lives. They confuse order with abuse and obedience with control. Nothing is good enough, right enough, or correct enough for these leaders. These ministers don’t build up leaders in the Kingdom, they build them in their own image. Abusive leaders are stifling leaders. They are stifling as friends, as coverings as associates because everything has to be their way all the time. They mistreat those in their lives in the struggle and mighty dominance for control. Everything is about THEIR vision, THEIR ministry, assisting THEM. Nobody is ever ready, in their mind’s eye view, to do anything that is not all about their service. This is not order, it’s witchcraft! From a suffocating lid…RUN!
(c) 2011 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.