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The Best Leaders Are Broken Leaders

We’re supposed to be strong, right? We have to be the bold leader, the model of victory and spiritual triumph!!

But I’ve learned, after two decades in pastoral ministry, that the best leaders are the broken leaders.

They’ve been hurt and will be hurt more, and they experience God’s healing.

They suffer weakness, and they experience God’s strength.

We often have a certain picture of what depression looks like, but many who struggle do so in between all of the working and parenting and the rest of the busyness of life. Charles Spurgeon epitomized humble leadership as he struggled with periodic depression while growing one of the greatest churches in Europe.

He led a school for aspiring ministry leaders and compiled the manuscripts of talks he had given to those students called Lectures to My Students, which includes a chapter titled “The Minister’s Fainting Fits.”

He opens the chapter acknowledging that “fits of depression overcome the most of us.” So again, you’re never alone in your brokenness—it’s more common than you will ever realize.

He continues…

Even under the economy of redemption it is most clear that we are to endure infirmities, otherwise there were no need of the promised Spirit to help us in them. It is of need be that we are sometimes in heaviness…

We have the treasure of the gospel in earthen vessels, and if there be a flaw in the vessel here and there, let none wonder. Our work, when earnestly undertaken, lays us open to attacks in the direction of depression…

All mental work tends to weary and to depress, for much study is a weariness of the flesh; but ours is more than mental work—it is heart work, the labor of our inmost soul.

And in our common naivety, we often assume that depression is merely the result of sin, or of satanic attack. But Spurgeon points out something very important…

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Brandon Cox is Lead Pastor of Grace Hills Church, a new church plant in northwest Arkansas. He also serves as Editor and Community Facilitator for Pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastor's Toolbox and was formerly a Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. In his spare time, he offers consultation to church leaders about communication, branding, and social media. He and his wife, Angie, live with their two awesome kids in Bentonville, Arkansas.