In Between Sundays

Lone Ranger Leadership

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I just bought a new Bible. My other one, well, the cover was falling off and even though I dearly love that Bible it seemed like the right time to get a new one.  There are two words in my new Bible that bless my heart.  Now, you might be thinking “Holy Bible”, or “Jesus said…”  Nope.  The two words that bless my heart are “Giant Print.”  Yeah, I know, I just dated myself.

Which brings me to my next point.  When I was a kid we had a black and white television.  In fact, most young people don’t know, but colors didn’t even exist until the late sixties when the Beatles released their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album.  That right, all life was lived in black and white.  It’s true.

Our family had a black and white television and on Saturday mornings my brother and I would sit in our pajamas on the living room floor eating Cheerios and watching cartoons and westerns.  My favorite western was THE LONE RANGER.  The reason I liked that show so much was because, yeah okay, the Lone Ranger was awesome, and his faithful sidekick was _______.  (If you don’t know the answer to this, then you can skip this article, pick up your little iPhone and check your “likes” on Instagram.  But, if you know the answer . . . read on!)

Long before Batman and Robin, these two were the original dynamite duo!  Plus, the Lone Ranger had some serious swag – he wore a mask, wore a crisp, white outfit, including a white hat, a silver pistol that only shot silver bullets.  In every episode, the Lone Ranger would solve the mystery, and at the end of the show, while atop his horse he would shout, “Hi Ho, Silver . . . away!” and ride off into the sunset.  I always thought the Lone Ranger was awesome.

Truth be told, I think there have been times in ministry when I’ve tried to be that guy.  (Well, everything but the mask part.)  I imagined myself riding into countless situations thinking “I’m going to be the hero”, “I don’t need a team, all I need is admirers”, “Leave me alone, I only work solo.”  What I discovered was that “Lone Ranger Ministry” never works.  Its fatal flaw is that God didn’t design us, or the church to work that way (See 1 Cor. 12).  And, here’s the bigger truth. You ready?  You can’t operate with a Lone Ranger leadership style and really be a spiritual leader.  Why?  It’s not Biblical.

So, stay tuned next week for Part 2, “Lone Ranger Leadership.”  It will be in black and white. 

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Most Saturday mornings you can find me at a little cafe in Branson called CLOCKERS.  It’s a small downtown, neighborhood establishment where you’ll find a healthy mix of locals and tourists and during the weekends and holidays, it’s typically filled to capacity with the smell of home cooking and loud chatter.  There’s usually a group of five gals enjoying good conversation and with shopping on the mind, or a young couple on their first breakfast date, families with children, or military veterans with their wives.  This is a popular place.  During the tourist season, there’s usually a line outside with folks just waiting to get a seat.

Last Saturday I arrived later than usual and stood with about fifteen people waiting for a seat.  I have to admit one of reasons I like CLOCKERS is, how can I say this . . . I’m a “frequent flyer.”  No, there’s no “first class” section, but it does afford the privilege of walking into the kitchen, saying “Good morning!” to the help, and helping myself to a fresh cup of coffee while I wait.  So, on that particular morning I grabbed a cup of coffee and waited my turn.  I didn’t wait long as an older gentleman waved his hand and invited me to join him.  So, I did.  He was a stranger; we’d never met before.

I thanked him for his hospitality, we traded names, sat down and jumped into typical “guy talk.”  (Guy talk simply means “Tell me your name,” “Where are you from?” and “What do you do?” plus some weather and sports thrown in for good measure.)

“Oscar” had been in construction.  His specialty?  Water towers.  His work required him to be away from home, sometimes for long periods of time.  After years of sacrifice and hard work, Oscar retired and he and his wife moved to Branson.

The waitress kept pouring coffee so we kept on talking.  Finally, I said, “Oscar, if you don’t mind, tell me about your wife.”  There was a long pause, he stared into his coffee cup and shifted in his seat.  He whispered, “We were married 40+ years, but . . . she died this past October.”  There was a longer pause.  “Oscar, can you tell me about her?”  With a gentle voice and the greatest of care he told how they first met, her character, their family, and the joy of their relationship.  I just listened and nodded.  It was a beautiful story of love.

Our breakfast ended, we shook hands.  I closed with, “Oscar, I’m glad I got to meet you.  I’m going to be praying for you, sir.”  He nodded and went on our way.

A pastor once said (and I paraphrase), “I’ve sat in restaurants and attended churches, and if given the choice, sometimes I probably would have joined the restaurant before I joined the church.”  Why would he say that?  I think it’s because we tend to be better neighbors in smaller, more intimate settings.  Fellowship, I want to encourage you to find your neighbor – it may be a life group, prayer group, or a men’s or women’s group.  It may be next door or even a café.  Find that neighborhood where you can exercise God-given spiritual influence and where God can use others to speak into your soul.  I know one thing for sure.  “Oscar” will be there.

Have a great week, Fellowship.  You are the beautiful Bride of Jesus!

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