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The Best Leaders Are Broken Leaders

Pastor Rick Warren encourages his staff members to seek out counseling without fear or shame, and for the first time, I told a fellow pastor about all of my deepest issues.

I’m convinced God moved us to southern California not simply to help Saddleback minister to leaders in the global church, but also because he wanted us to plant a church but knew I wasn’t ready on a spiritual and emotional level.

When we started Grace Hills Church, we weren’t perfect or completely healed from all of our hurts, but we were absolutely committed to not faking it anymore. We were on the path toward humble leadership.

We would start a church as broken leaders, for broken people. It would be a safe place for people to come with their brokenness and find healing and restoration in the good news of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection!

Denying your brokenness can help you succeed…for a season. But if you want to thrive and become all that God has purposed for you to become, you’ll have to be broken.

Humble Leadership Lesson #2: There is healing in the cross of Christ.

Is it possible for God to instantly and miraculously take away all of your brokenness?

Sure. Anything is possible with God. But it isn’t normative. And if you require complete and miraculous healing from God in order to be satisfied with him, you’ll miss out on the joy of coming to know his long, slow process of developing you into Christlike maturity.

Remember that Paul received something greater than a miraculous deliverance from his thorn in the flesh. He was privileged to learn through suffering that God’s grace is enough.

God works patiently with us, like a master artisan, re-shaping us into the masterpiece he knows we can be so that we can show to others the beauty of what his grace can accomplish.

Humble Leadership Lesson #3: I lead best when I own my brokenness.

The world’s greatest influencers aren’t merely rich and famous. Those who have the most impact on any generation are leaders acquainted with suffering, who own their brokenness.

Spurgeon continued writing about how God uses our dark nights of the soul to develop us into the effective leaders he desires for us to be…

The scouring of the vessel has fitted it for the Master’s use. Immersion in suffering has preceded the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Fasting gives an appetite for the banquet. The Lord is revealed in the backside of the desert, while his servant keepeth the sheep and waits in solitary awe. The wilderness is the way to Canaan. The low valley leads to the towering mountain. Defeat prepares for victory. The raven is sent forth before the dove. The darkest hour of the night precedes the day-dawn…

Such mature men as some elderly preachers are, could scarcely have been produced if they had not been emptied from vessel to vessel, and made to see their own emptiness and the vanity of all things round about them.

I have a long way to go and a lot to learn about humble leadership. I’m in process, but I’m making progress by the grace of God as I come to understand that it isn’t my strength that brings success or influence. It is actually God’s strength, made perfect in my weaknesses, that can profoundly affect the world around me.

To any leader reading this, my greatest encouragement would be to embrace your pain. Own your brokenness. And reach out—to your spouse, a mentor, a counselor or a close friend.

Victory comes after our momentary defeats, and though grief lasts through the night, joy comes in the morning!

This article about humble leadership originally appeared here.

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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.