My son, his girlfriend, and I were running on the roads in our neighborhood. There is one point where a new cul-de-sac comes very close to a middle school near our home. We stepped off the road and ran down a path through the woods to the parking lot of the school. We ran around the parking lot, then headed back to the path to our neighborhood.
But, it had gotten darker, and I missed the path. We ended up running through the woods for a few feet.
Last weekend, I went on a trail run with a few friends. Three of us (the old three) stayed together while some of the younger guys ran ahead. We were taking turns leading on the trails.
Suddenly, we found ourselves off the trail and running down a hill into the woods. We turned around and made our way back onto the trail and continued our run.
I offer these two examples to make this point: Occasionally, even when leaders have the best of intentions and even when they are doing the best they can, they will lead us off the path. We end up in a place where we are not supposed to be.
The problem is not in having leaders. Scripture speaks of leaders (some prefer the term guides, which is fine). We will have leaders, whether they are recognized as more permanent leaders or they are temporary leaders for a specific time or project. Whether a group is more or less organized, there will be leaders.
And, guess what? Those leaders will make mistakes. No one is perfect. Even when someone is attempting to follow God and helping others follow God, that person will make mistakes.
This leads me to a very important question: What do we do when we realize that a leader (or a group of leaders) has guided us off the path?
Obviously, there are several ways to answer this question, and I think the way that we approach the answer tells us alot about what we think about leaders among the church, the work and responsibility of the church as a whole, and the presence of God with his children.
So, what would you do if you realized that someone has led you off the path? What if this mistake did not affect only you, but others as well?
How would this mistake affect your attitude toward the person(s) leading you?
How would you expect the leader(s) to respond when others realize that they have led them off the path? How should they respond if they do not believe they have misled people?
Again, I think these are very important questions that are rarely considered among the church. However, I think the mistakes in leadership happen often, even among those who are godly and who are genuinely seeking to help others.