Being a leader isn’t what I expected.
There, I said it.
I showed you the oft overwhelmed human behind the wizard’s curtain.
After 10+ years in online ministry I can tell you being out front is not nearly as glamorous or shiny as most of the gurus make it out to be.
There’s a lot more messing up, doing things over, and wondering if I’m setting my team up for a massive crash and burn. This overnight success thing takes years of work.
Over a decade ago God gave me a vision of what Christian leadership was going to look like for me.
It was only a brief snapshot, but it was beautiful and exciting! I was backstage with a few loved ones getting ready to speak to an auditorium full of people. We were all dressed nicely and very excited to be wherever we were at!
I woke up excited and ready to make it happen.
Fast forward to today. The path to that big stage hasn’t been as straight or as easy as I thought it would be. My ministry grew, then it got smaller, then it grew again. In this season I serve hundreds of people who are struggling to deconstruct their faith from toxic religion. It’s rewarding work and I know I’m making a difference, but there’s still a lot of work to do. If I’m being completely honest, I thought that vision God gave me would happen quicker, with fewer wandering paths, and less sleepless nights.
I mean really, if God was calling me to it He would make sure we got there, right?
But that’s not what it means to be a Christian leader.
When I said yes to standing in front of this group of people I love so dearly, I said yes to more.
More hate from online trolls.
More spiritual warfare.
More straining my neck to see what’s around the next corner.
More wondering if God made a mistake to call me to this thing we are building.
I wasn’t fully prepared for the more required by Christian leadership, but that’s what the call delivered.
10+ years into this ever evolving call to ministry, I’m learning that God also expected more from me than I expected from myself. Perhaps more importantly, They were prepared to offer more of Themselves, than I expected.
More peace when I was overwhelmed.
More like-minded people who inspire me to keep going.
More prayer warriors to protect my team and family.
More grace when I doubted everything.
More miracles when all I expected was bolts of judgmental lightning.
Christian leadership is as transformational to us, as it is to those we are called to lead.
There’s no cutting corners or cheating when we are doing things God’s way. We can’t steamroll people at any cost. So getting messy, making mistakes, and needing the support of others is par for the course. We have to work on ourselves as much as we work on other people. Releasing ourselves from old expectations, habits, and false-beliefs is exponentially more difficult than getting others to believe in us. It takes time. Lots and lots of time.
Perhaps you’re in a similar season. God has given you a vision that’s polished and shiny, but you’re looking around feeling like a jumbled mess.
You feel discontent with the present and are ready to be in the future that God has promised. You’re longing to be in the presence of people whose lives are being changed.
To you I say keep going. The mess that surrounds you is like evidence of your leadership and it’s a good thing. Old ways are being torn down. New ways are being built. You’re worn out because you are blazing new trails with people who never even knew those trails existed.
Messy, tired, and changed by this journey are your goals for this season.
Instead of giving in to the critics who say you can’t, shouldn’t, or aren’t called to do this….Get honest with yourself about how heavy this load is and make it a priority to rest, sit with God, lean on others.
Let the vision of the future encourage you instead of making you feel like you’re not doing enough. This season is hard, acknowledging the struggle isn’t sinful. God knows this is hard and still chose to call you to it because the work is worth the investment. God’s taking you through this season of heavy lifting, because you’re worth the investment.
Saying “YES” to Christian leadership isn’t just about developing your own relationship with God.
You can do that privately and never lead anyone. Leadership requires us to stand in front of our community and reveal to people what they cannot yet see on their own.
Even when we feel imperfect.
Even when the message feels unfinished.
Even when the path forward looks more like a bramble patch than the yellow brick road.
Your messy calling, watered by your sweat and tears, will grow into the beautiful vision God has shown you. Give yourself permission to be here, in the messy middle, and to be transformed by the experience.
You may pick up a few scars along the way, but what great Christian leader, prophet, or warrior hasn’t?
Hey there friend! I’m Angela J Herrington, MA, LSCC and I’m a Faith Deconstruction coach who provides soul care for people who are untangling from toxic religion.
As a certified life coach and seminary-trained online pastor, I have a lot of experience helping people connect with God. But this is also a very personal journey for me.
For the last decade, I’ve been on my own journey to break free from learned smallness and step into wild sacred holy womanhood. Long story short, after finding faith in my early 30’s I began to realize that what I was hearing from the church about women didn’t always line up with what God was telling me. I loved God but realized the church was teaching some really toxic stuff.
So this Enneagram 8, first born, Gen Xer started deconstructing. I questioned and challenged everything I thought I knew about faith, gender, and myself.
It was messy and took a lot of work to sort it out. Therapy. Coaching. Bodywork. Spiritual healing. Conferences and retreats. And even a couple of college degrees.
You name it…I tried it.
But the thing that made the biggest difference was the presence and support of wise people who helped me up when I didn’t know where else to turn.
That’s why in September 2021, I created and hosted The Deconstructing Faith Summit. I gathered 20 phenomenal deconstruction experts to share their expertise and hosted over 1100 attendees in the week-long virtual event. Those who attended realized they weren’t alone, had a safe space to ask questions, learned dozens of strategies to help them deconstruct, and released tons of pent-up emotions they didn’t even know they were carrying around.
We laughed, we cried, and we danced, but the best part was…We did it together.
It was AMAZING and it was just the beginning.
So now, I’m doubling down on my commitment to create an inclusive support system for people, like you, who are longing to get away from toxic religion and cultivate a nourishing spiritual life.