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Power and Dual Relationships

Posted on March 13th, 2014

Power, along with dual relationships, is a minefield that has left countless leaders, along with their followers, maimed and disabled. The most painful lessons I have learned in my thirty-five years of Christian leadership have been around power and dual relationships.  It has also been one of the greatest means God has used to mature me as a leader. Getting equipped to use our power well in order to free people, especially those closest to us, offers potential to advance Christ’s mission and release joy in ways we have never dreamed. Remaining uninformed, however, exposes us to deadly dangers –both to ourselves and those we aim to serve. I’ve been thinking on this for a number of years and am now writing on it for the book I am working on called: The Emotionally Healthy Leader (Zondervan, 2015). The following is a snippet:

The 10 Commandments of Power and Dual Relationships

1. Be prudent, not naïve about power. 2. Remember that unresolved family of origin dynamics with power are buried alive. 3. Enlist wise counsel to monitor dual relationships in the church. 4. Be aware of early danger signs. 5. Be sensitive to cultural, ethnic, and generational nuances. 6. Release people (paid and volunteer) in a Christian way. 7. The burden to set the boundaries and keep them clear is on the person with greater power. 8. Be friends with your friends, a pastor to your people, and a supervisor to your volunteers/employees. 9. Grow up through the suffering and loneliness of leadership. 10. Ask God for grace to forgive your “enemies,” and yourself.

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