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Lip-Sync Leadership

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Dear Friend,

We at Leader Formation International are delighted to share the lessons learned while traveling the globe proclaiming the message God has entrusted to us. We take the title for this series from the opening story, but each account challenges us as leaders to become the kind of real men and women God calls us to be as He forms and then uses us as the hands of Christ in the lives of our followers.

We hope you will find the lessons presented here to be insightful, refreshing, and encourages you follow Christ in leading others.

Bill Lawrence
Leader Formation International

A Lip-Sync Leadership

Recently Lynna and I were at the Wilanow Palace in Warsaw, Poland, where we saw an amazing sight.

Just as we arrived we saw a bride and bridesmaid and thought, "O, great, we'll get to see a wedding at the palace today."

A little while later we saw a band getting off a bus, dressed in beautiful black and gold uniforms, and we thought, "Wow, a wedding and a concert at the palace. What a wonderful day."

Not long after this, while walking under a canopy of trees, we saw a tall, stately man wearing a long black and gold coat, pants with a gold stripe down the side, and carrying a baton in his hand--obviously the leader of the band.

The weather was perfect as we wandered around the palace grounds, by the ponds, past the meadows, and along the lake and eventually came into a neo-Renaissance garden with lovely flowers, green grass, and walkways. This was surrounded by benches where a few people were sitting. Next to this was the palace, first started in the 15oos by King Jan II who had defended Vienna against the Turks and kept Europe out of the Ottoman Empire.

We discovered that the band was gathering and getting set up to play. Just as we entered the garden area, the band leader came in with a woman wearing a beautiful off the shoulder full-length black gown and took her in front of the band. We concluded that the band was going to play for the wedding, and we decided to watch.

There were a couple of things that seemed unusual. For one thing there were no guests that I could see. And for another there was a woman there, very casually dressed, who was carrying what we in the United States would call a ghetto blaster or a boom box, a radio and CD player capable of being very loud.

There was a videographer in from of the band set up to shoot video and there was a photographer taking still shots as well. Then we noticed the and groom enter from the far side of the garden and walk parallel to the palace, so I thought the wedding was about to begin.

Then the woman with the boom box played a number and the band director led the band, all with horns to their mouths, the bass drummer swinging his stick, and woman in the black gown sang and twirled and curtsied--but no one made a sound. The horns never played, the drummer never hit the drum, and the singer never sang a I thought it was a rehearsal in which the band was listening to how the music should be played before actually performing. I did notice another strange thing, though, and that was that the groom, as he was the bride, had a white in his hand.

We were waiting for the wedding when finally it struck me going on. It was a lip-sync wedding. There was not going to be a wedding, the band was never going to play, the woman was never going to sing. They were pretending.

Next we saw another bride and groom, and another and another and another--twenty or thirty couples getting their pictures taken in front of the palace and in the garden.

You see, any bride in Warsaw can come to the Wilanow Palace and have a lip-sync wedding. She can be a princess on her wonderful day and before her prince loses
his charming--she can have her picture taken with the band and the singer in the beautiful gown and, voila, she can have her wedding at the palace.

A lip-sync wedding! What a clever idea, don't you think?

But what about lip-sync living?

Now that's another story.

You know what I mean. Lip-sync living is when we arrange our lives so we always look good, always look in control, always look as if we have it all together when, in fact, our lives may be failing apart. But we never let anyone know that. We can never admit we are unready for a crown. We can never admit we need a cross.

And, of course, lip-sync living must mean lip-sync love--when we say we love, but we never let anyone close to us or let anyone see us in our vulnerability or need.

And lip- sync love has to lead to lip-sync leadership--leadership that must always be right, always be in control. always be safe. and must never ever face the reality of the cross.

Peter was a lip-sync leader--a man ready for a crown, but who thought like Satan because he pursued his crown without the cross. Jesus had to correct this mistaken thinking.

We can be lip-sync leaders, too, acting as if we know exactly what we" re doing, where we're going, how we're going to get there, working to maintain control because we can never let our followers know what's really going on inside of us. The problem is they sense it. They know we don't have a handle on what we're facing and the issues that are about to overwhelm us. They know we're faking good, but running scared. Like Peter we need to learn to overcome faking good by trusting greatly because the only One who can deliver us from lip-sync leadership is the only Leader who never led that way.

Questions To Ponder:

  • How does the idea of lip- sync leadership impact you.? Have you covered up for your inadequacy when everyone around you knew what actually was going on.? What came out of that.?
  • What does it mean to you as a leader to cast all your cares on Jesus, the one who is your only true enabler.?
  • What would your leadership look like if you chose to face all your fears and trust Jesus who knows your fears and loves you anyway?
  • What kind of a leader would you be if you were free from the hypocrisy of lip-sync leadership?

Related Topics: Issues in Church Leadership/Ministry, Leadership