The Lonliness of Leadership

There are days leadership can be very lonely.  I didn’t realize that until I became a church planter back in 1997.  Shortly after planting Carolina Forest Community Church I began to feel a pressure I had never felt before.  I sensed that while my team loved me, they really didn’t understand what I was going through as the leader.  Senior leaders face unique pressures that others simply cannot understand until they are in that role themselves. 

As the senior leader of the Hebrew people Moses had to feel the pressure of “It’s all on me”. No one else in the nation would understand what it was like to be responsible for millions of people or face criticism from huge crowds or lead in the face of seemingly impossible situations. These pressures could create unbearable loneliness without the right support.  So what did he do, how did he handle it? 

I think we get a clue in Exodus 33:7,11, “Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting…The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” 

Notice Moses pitched the tent OUTSIDE the camp some distance away.  He got away from the center of activity. That’s difficult for me as a leader because I love the activity, I’m drawn to it, and admittedly I’m addicted to it.  But the truth is while leadership can be lonely it also demands loneliness.  It’s in the aloneness we hear the voice of God, find the comfort of God, receive the wisdom God and experience the friendship of God.  It’s in the aloneness God alleviates the pain of the leaders loneliness.

I searched the phrase, “The Lord spoke to Moses”and discovered that it’s used 138 times. In other words, it was characteristic for Moses to hear from God. That’s because he sought aloneness with God and frequently discovered the friendship of God. 

When was the last time you sought aloneness away from the center of activity in order to find the friendship of God?