As I sat and did absolutely nothing yesterday (I am still without transportation), I decided to watch Maser and Commander that nautical movie starring Russell Crowe. I must confess that this is one of my all time favorite movies. Not so much as I love nautical movies, but mainly from the elements of leadership one can gleam from it. Here’s a couple things I gained from watching and analyzing this movie:
Lessons from Captain Jack Aubrey
1) People often need a leader and not a friend.
This statement can easily offend someone, and I agree with it but not in its entirety. The people who we lead need a leader sometimes more so than they need for us to be that friend. This is to say that the need to be relational is also extremely relevant. This can sometimes cause one to easily dissociate leading and friendship as two separate elements. For example, is it possible to let a person who is a friend get away with something that you wouldn’t allow others to do? Would you pass off the disciplinary action to circumvent the friendship? Please do not mistake me here, people need a leader who care about them personally, but will communicate itself by leading.
2) Respect must be given.
How many times have we disrespected a person due to his or her position? I have done this many times. In Master and Commander there is a character that is not respected by the men he is given to govern. Why is that (see #1 for the answer)? This man was more concerned about being a friend and earning respect, when it should have been given regardless. That’s where the men of the ship failed in their duty. “Failed him fellowship” is what was said. These men disregarded the position that was given to Hollom the midshipman. You see, it doesn’t matter who we think should be in leadership, or whether we think we can do a better job. What matters is that God has placed certain people in the position of leader for various reasons. We can go our entire lives and really never understand why. Nevertheless, when the day is over, we must show respect to those who govern us.
3) A leader is required to make tough choices.
I have mentioned this concept before in previous blog entries. A leader is required to make decisions that proper for the mission at hand. This concept is well represented in the film where Captain Aubrey is forced to cut the lines that a fellow shipmate is holding on to, thus releasing this shipman to the sea. Not only is this a tough choice, but he had the brother of the man-over-board help cut the lines. In ministry we sometimes must make choices like this. One of my favorite things to say to people is “student ministry is never easy, and if it is; you’re not doing something right.”
4) Arguing for arguing sake.
Do you know someone what always has to have a better answer? Or disagrees with you just to disagree? In leadership and even in the film, the chain of command always regards the direction and orders of the captain as final. They discuss and strategize, but when the captain gives the order, they preform with excellence and without delay. I find it appropriate to often discuss about the direction of ministry and sometimes the motives. But, I would never argue another point just to secure a position that doesn’t exist.
I find it fascinating that God places certain people in certain leadership positions. Ministry reminds me much of a ship. Everyone has there part to play, and in order to have a well ordered ship, everyone must know their place. There will come a time when promotions will happen just like in the film (hooray for Mr. Pullings!) and a time of conflict. However, we must never forget the ultimate captain we serve.