Leadership is a very tricky endeavor – spiritual leadership even more so. There is always a fine line between expectation and accomplishment – between motivation and abuse. As a football coach it is entirely unfair of me to get angry and scream at a player whom I have neither taught nor practiced the skill at which he is failing. It might make ME feel better; it might make me feel more powerful and in control – but the unintended consequence is that the player will simply learn to avoid taking risks and trying hard things for fear of punishment. In short, the player will never MATURE and be able to see what the coach sees and understand what the coach understands and become the player that he could be. And so it is with spiritual leadership. Using the analogy above, a spiritual leader must not only cultivate the soil, he or she must also take the time to plant, nurture, harvest and then incorporate that harvest into the body. Moreover, and we see this all too often on the football field and in the church, the leader – if by chance something actually does grow under such adverse conditions – cannot beat the harvest back into the ground, crushing and destroying it so that it never again benefits the body. The individual and the body will never grow, never mature, and never be the instrument for the Kingdom that God envisions. The believer, like the player, will never experience embedded encouragement and good will and never grow up and step out on their own – teaching others and growing the body. (or the team!) So I challenge you as a leader with these questions: Do you beat the sheep or feed the sheep? Do you lead for the benefit of those who choose to follow – or is the source of your motivation the satisfaction of you own ego and need for power? Oh, and as a follower, do not forget, you have the model of scriptural leadership and the right to be under it. If you are not – make the change so that you can grow, harvest, and re-invest in the people and the body that you love.