February 12th, 2013

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Tuesday, February 12th, 2013


Narcissism is defined as “generalized personality trait characterized by egotism, vanity, conceit, or selfishness.”   You can find a whole lot more information on it here.    As you can well imagine, the traits of egotism, vanity, conceit, or selfishness can be are damaging to any organization, especially the church.   More of that in a minute.

Selfishness is a character trait of every one of us.  True, some have more trouble with it than others.  You will meet some people who are more giving, more caring, more loving than others.  However, that does not mean they are not selfish.  While I don’t believe in the doctrine called Original Sin, I do believe every one of us is born with a sin nature that manifests itself pretty quickly.  Like almost immediately as we demand attention.  “Hey, I’m hungry!  Feed me!”  “Hey, wait a second here!  Can’t you smell that?  I left that for you; I’m miserable and it needs changed…NOW!”  “And just where do you think you’re going?  Oh no, no, no.  I want your attention and really don’t care what you want to do or that you need sleep.”   The common thread is “I” “me” or any derivative of them.

Failure to get a grip on our selfishness makes for a miserable childhood/ adulthood.  We want our own way. We throw tantrums when we don’t.  We pout.  We spew nasty words.  You get the drift.  You can also get the drift when i say selfishness should not be in leadership-corporate or the church.  The selfish CEO is a bane to his organization and a pain in the, aaaah, rump.  A selfish pastor, or elder or leader, or whatever facet of leadership a person finds themselves in, is a hindrance to the unity and forward progress of that church.  Bar none.

Joel is careful to define unselfishness as “it doesn’t mean thinking less of yourself-it means thinking of yourself less.  Huge difference!  Chew on that one for awhile.  Asking “How can I serve you?” solves some issues tied up in selfishness.

Here’s the key-one that Joel is a stickler about: what you are in private is what you will be in public.  If you are a selfish person in your personal life, you are unlikely to be unselfish as a leader.  Unselfishness is a key component to leading with love.  (p.93)

Space limits me from going deeper into this, other than to say Joel is convinced that organizations need to be unselfish as well.


Find a selfish church-one only interested in gazing at its navel-and you will find one already dead or in a state of decomposition.   God save the church from selfish leaders/people!!

So…what are your thoughts on this subject?  Do you find selfishness common in the church?  How is it combated? What do you do when your leadership is selfish? 

Make sure you head over to the Stretched Community to see what Jon has to say.