The Rhino Gets the Last Word

This is my last post on leadership for the time being. This blog has helped me think through some leadership issues that are important to me. I appreciate the emails from friends and the few, but fruitful, comments on Broken Steeple. They have helped me sharpen my own thoughts on defeating the leadership monsters Luther described so vividly. I had an experience today that summed up this season of thinking about leadership.

Meredith and I went into New York today. We have been meeting and working with Bob Griner of the South Mountain Community Church in Millburn, NJ. Today we had an afternoon to hang out as a couple. It was great.

We went by F.A.O Schwarz to buy Molly Katherine a gift. While we were there, Meredith bought a little wooden rhino and gave it to me as a gift. I collect rhinos. I have a ceramic one and a stuffed one named Rusty. He talks when you squeez his belly. The rhinos in my office remind me of some advice a wise old pastor once gave me. He said, "If you are going to do anything as a pastor you've got to become a rhino. You've got to have a thick skin and a big heart."

Rhino pastors are not lazy wimps or control freaks. They are tough and tender. They are snakes and doves. Pray for me because I want to be a rhino.


Cally said...

I've gotten to a point where I don't read leadership books anymore, as they tend to be repetitive and often deal with mega-church situations. Pastors are the leaders in the churches, although I would disagree with Criswell's assessment that they are the "boss" of the church.

I think leadership is a noun and verb and takes time for a pastor to learn. The old adage is true: the best way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing.

I don't know enough about these animal metaphors to comment, but agree that leaders need "think skin and soft hearts." It is a jungle out there.

Matt Snowden said...

The snake and dove metaphor belongs to Jesus. He charged his followers to be both wise and gentle. I agree with you about leadership books, although, I have leared a great deal from Henri J.M. Nouwen. Most leadership lessons I have leared from watching well traveled leaders and asking them questions. This is way I appreciate your comments. Thanks.

Matt Snowden said...


oops, why not way

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