Sunday, July 31, 2011

On not being "helicopter" leaders

*What do you do when people in your house church are struggling?  Perhaps they are in an unhealthy relationship or they have made bad financial decisions.  Out of compassion, our first impulse is to jump in and help them out, to rescue them.  Sometimes this is exactly what is needed.  But, sometimes our rescuing can get in the way of what God is doing.   (Parenting with Love and Logic (Cline and Fay) calls this "helicopter" parenting.  As in a  helicopter "hovers and rescues".)  In each situation, we need to listen carefully to be clear about God's directions.

Why did the father of the prodigal son in Luke 15 not go to the "far country" to rescue his son?  What would have happened if Jacob had rescued Joseph from Pharaoh's prison in Genesis?  The video below presents us with a perspective that wise parents (and house church leaders) need to consider.

Our Struggle with Their Struggle from Stewardship Ministries on Vimeo.

*A core belief of LK10 is that church = family.  It follows then that church leaders = spiritual parents (in the very best sense of the word).  A core mission of LK10 is to train spiritual moms and dads who can give healthy leadership to vibrant families of Jesus.

"... in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel."  1 Cor. 4:15

"... we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children... we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children... "  1 Thes. 2:7, 11.

*Letters to the House Church Movement by Rad Zdero. Chapter Eleven is titled "Letter to a National House Church Movement". "Some house churches reject the whole issue of leadership because they feel that Christ alone is the only leader of their group or because they have been hurt by institutional leaders in the past... (This idea) must be rejected altogether because it is not a biblical idea.

...Your house churches today, must encourage the emergence of healthy leaders. Micro leaders (or elders) are unpaid spiritual moms and dads who nurture, train, and empower believers in their house church to do the work of the ministry. Macro leaders (or apostles) are pioneers, visionaries, and strategists who start new house churches, adopt existing house churches, link them together into 
networks..." p. 152.



  1. Thought-provoking post. Thanks. With two teen-age children the lessons of this are certainly applicable! As for leadership allowing fellow believers to struggle, I think we need to allow God to work in their lives, but also to lovingly walk alongside them. This does not mean we solve their struggles (that is God's domain) but that they know we care and are praying for them. Any help that is asked of us, must we weighed as the video says, "with a careful use of the scissors." Good post.

    --Guy Muse

  2. I agree with you, Guy. Even if we choose not to rescue in some situations, we need to "lovingly walk alongside them". As you know with teens, this is particularly challenging when they sometimes make bad choices. Thanks for your comment.

  3. As far as leadership goes, I'd say that leadership is as leadership does. It's often the 'ship' part of leadership that is the problem. Anything with 'ship' on the end sounds like a position or even a career.

    Did Paul, or John, or Peter, or James ever refer to themselves as 'a leader'? Did Jesus? They led by caring, encouraging, and where necessary admonishing.

    We should all be carers in church life, but none of us should make careers out of it!

    And I love the thought that we should avoid fixing every problem. Everyone's primary role in church life is love, and love is sometimes in the holding back. How will a child learn to ride a bike if Dad is always running behind holding it up?!