There is no doubt – insecure leaders often become control freaks and tyrants that make everyone’s life miserable and the stress created in the relationships with the leader contibute to his/her own burnout. The insecure leader tries to make everyone over in his image, and make the outward appearance of the group or church look good so as to prove he is a good leader. Followers generally don’t like their freedom taken away, and they down-right hate having their creativity and ingenuity chained down. Tension and distrust grow between leader and followers, and if something doesn’t change, the leader will become more dictatorial, or the followers will start to leave. Worse yet, the followers rise up, rebel and demand the departure of the leader. Burnout and cynicism can become the internal culture of the church or ministry.
Control, instead of love and freedom, becomes the unspoken life-blood of the group. I remember sitting in many a ministers’ meeting in our old legalistic denomination, and the regional pastor would be teaching his slanted view of life, God, and church. Often the ideas were filled with distrust and even a bigotry toward other parts of the Body of Christ. I would glance around the room at different senior pastors I knew had different viewpoints than the ones being expressed. No one ever challenged the bigotry, or the theology. To do so would place you into a new category within the church. To do so would stir fear in the regional pastor, and given enough fear and time, the regional pastor would have to deal with the issue – usually by getting rid of the challenger. In such a culture, fear and insecurity are the unspoken (even unrecognized) governing controls. Unconditional love, and the awesome freedom Jesus won for us on the cross are merely “terms” used in church-speak.
If you suspect (and even if you don’t suspect) that you are ruled more by fear and insecurity than unconditional love, spend some time with the Lord, and focus on love and freedom, and repent where needed. Giving others their freedom is one of the most healing and stress relieving changes you can make!