Samuel Chand’s Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth is an insightful and encouraging book to finish the 2018 Spring LGP8 Semester. Why? Because Chand gives leaders a no-nonsense, “count the cost” picture on how to lead in ministry while following Christ. I have been a transformational-situational-servant leadership practitioner for many years and I frequently tell others that “leadership hurts.” Chand’s book helped narrow my focus, increase my vocabulary, and challenged me to “run with the devils.” This post, as always, will look for ideas, themes, and links to my dissertation research. In addition, I see added value from Chand to expand my leadership praxis in the process.
How does one learn to run with the devils? Why in such a confused world where everyone struggles to resist Satan would anyone suggest such a thing? Chand knows why! I knew I would like this author right away when he boldly challenged Christian leaders with the following statement, “Learn to run with the devils in your midst today, and God will reward you with many more to deal with!” The devils Chand is referring to are the 10% of the average congregation who cause 90% of the problems in the church. I did not find any support for his statistic, but I know from my public safety days that we used to use the rule-of-thumb that 10% of the people commit 90% of the crime. So, if we identified the repeat criminal offenders and increased our efforts towards them, then crime was reduced. I wonder if the same strategy, increasing our pastoral ministry efforts on the 10% of the congregational devils would reduce their unhealthy influence on the other 90% and improve the witness and testimony of the church?
Are devils everywhere? My research problem says that the church leaders are desensitized to the idea of a real devil and as a result their response to spiritual warfare is marginalized. Whole congregations sit week after week being fed love, grace, and happiness but never hear about why bad things happen to good people. Chand says, “For leaders, there will always be a fight against our culture’s values and our sinful nature.” I was happy to see Chand quote the Apostle Peter and identify Satan as the predominant threat to each of us. The Apostle Peter says to stay sober and alert because your enemy the devil prowls, stalks, and lurks around you “like a roaring lion” who is looking for someone to devour, consume, and demolish. In comparison, the Apostle Peter , like the Apostle Paul, encourages Christians to resist Satan and stand firm in the faith.
Who is Chand and how does he compare with other Christian leadership authors? After reviewing Chand’s notes section, I did not see any citations or references to Christian leadership authors such MacArthur, Blanchard, Blackaby, Stanley, or Lowney. However, I did see a forward from Maxwell and a quote from Tozer that helped instill some scholarly confidence in Chand. I felt a little suspicious with his cheesy picture and biography where his publisher used a lot of fancy word-plays like “dream releaser, leadership architect, change strategist, and leadership Guru” words to promote the author of a Christian based servant-leader book. Nevertheless, after living in Africa and making friends with Christian expats from India, I understand the cross-cultural context and marketing strategy for his book. Chand has published 12 books and specializes in a Dream Releaser program with four tracks costing $1000 each.
I could not find as many reviews on Chand as I hoped but here is a sampling of scholarly critique on Leadership Pain. First, Borrett supports Chand’s thesis that God uses our pain, hurts, betrayals, and disappointments for “His Kingdom, for His glory and for whatever is next.” Borrett felt that the book ended too abruptly and needed a more comprehensive conclusion. Second, Blundell adds the Western context into his review of Chand and says that Christians “have grown up in a comfort obsessed expectation. We have the idea that pain is bad and comfort is good.” He supports Chand’s conclusion that growth = change, change = loss, and loss= pain. Therefore, he agrees with Chand who says, “If you’re not hurting, you’re not leading.”
I guess that might be true sometimes. For instance, when I served with a missionary aviation organization with 50 expatriates and over 100 indigenous nationals I experienced new degrees of hurting by leading within a diverse cross-cultural context. Leading volunteers is tough enough, but leading volunteers from other cultures within a cross-cultural context whose world views range from collective tribe to independent family unit can create many a challenges and new types of hurting for the leader. I used Maxwell’s 360-degree feedback challenge in 2011 within the African cross-cultural context. It was a very humbling, enlightening, and reflective process for me that I will never forget.
In summary, I am inspired to “run with the devils” and focus on the 10% of our congregants who cause 90% of the problems in the church. I believe that if I can share the Armor of God (AOG) coin ministry and message with the church devils, that they will attract and attach themselves to the ministry of putting on the whole armor of God. I have seen it work in the 10% of criminals who commit 90% of the crime category and I believe the AOG ministry and coin artifact will find similar success in the 10% of church devils category too.