Out of the Box, Over the Top Leadership

Effective leaders will make it not because they have all the answers pertaining to the virus but because they address existential issues gripping their people as never before.

About 2000 years ago John Mark narrates a story of a few people who were wanting to help a paralysed man. They had heard about Jesus and knew he is someone who can heal people of their problems. Based on this conviction they made arrangements for their paralysed friend to be carried by four strong men. However, when they actually reached Capernaum they faced a problem they weren’t anticipating. The house in which Jesus was preaching was jam packed (Most probably Jesus’ home (Mark 2:1) There was absolutely no way anyone else could come in. Jesus’s preaching was so profound that no one wanted to come out either.

These men who had brought the paralysed man did not expect this obstacle. It is interesting to note that these Men persevered in their conviction. It took some brainstorming, mobilising, boldness and planning to find a solution for this new context. There final solution was rather out of the box and literally over the top. They decided to take the paralysed man up on the roof, they break the structure carefully, large enough to lower down this man right in front of Jesus. Imagine that!

What follows is interesting. Mark 2:5 says , ‘…Jesus saw their faith…’ What makes God see their faith? Consider the following:

Their Leadership was fuelled with Compassion filled Action : Love is the best leadership currency. True Love leads to action. The Men who brought their paralysed friend were Men of action moved by Compassion. This is so much like Jesus. He was moved to action because of His love to point of laying down his reputation, life even to the point of death on the cross. In today’s world, there is a need for much love. There are so many poor and needy people all around us today deeply affected by the crisis the coronavirus created. Our stories of compassion at a time of Pandemic builds a wall of protection, often times more deeper than what medicines can do. Compassion kills the virus of fear. Most employees today need trust and compassion as per a Gallup survey. Ask yourself what does compassionate leadership look like?

Their Leadership was built on Perseverance based on Conviction: When Compassion is based on sure conviction obstacles cannot hinder the intention. Obstacles are overcome by a perseverant spirit. That’s exactly what these Men did. They must have looked at all other possibilities of getting the paralysed man to Jesus. The need of the hour today is to persevere in doing good. Read Galatians 6:9, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Their leadership was Bold & Out of the Box & Over the Top: Thinking differently is hard enough but doing things different is harder. These Men did not mind climbing up the roof with the paralysed man – pretty unconventional way of getting someone into the house. Sometimes, rules needs to be broken to get the job to be done – Great leaders do things out of the box. God does things out of the box and He gets excited when He sees someone do things in accordance of his nature. These Men in Mark 2nd chapter were not only out of the box carrying a paralysed man over the top, but they were bold in even following through their plan of action. It takes a lot of guts to be able to break someone’s roof. But in the end their courage did not go in vain. Now, boldness doesn’t meant arrogance nor does it mean confidence in our own faith or abilities. What it means, is the confidence that oozes out of desperation – the kind of boldness that made the Women touch the hem of Jesus. Or consider, Apostle Peter – God had to break Peter many times in order to restore and mold him into a radically bold, useful vessel for the Kingdom. Paul’s boldness was a result of his brokeness too. In fact, Paul says how he would rather boast about his weaknesses. Brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness. Through adversity, failure, disappointment and even our sin (preceding repentance) the Father will mold, restore and transform us into bold servants He can use for His purposes. For these Men in Mark 2, we do not know their background – what we see is their desperation to see their friend healed.

There are many Churches doing a great job in doing church out of the box – from creative online zoom services to Drive in Worship experience. However, I wonder if we are missing the point. Instead of spending too much energy in trying to get people to ourselves , we should we asking how can we think out of the box to get people to Christ. There is a huge need to think out of the box in reaching those outside the church. Maybe its time to break some rules (those Men in Mark broke a part of the roof). One of the things that needs a breaking is in our own attitudes towards leadership? Do we approach it from a position of power or is the call to leadership in scriptures to serve out of brokenness and dependance on God? At best, the Church is a bunch of broken people. We are called to be wounded servants in His kingdom brining other wounded people to Christ.


Jesus was impressed with their faith and the result was amazing. The guy was not only healed but also forgiven. (One of my friends jokingly says, Jesus also forgave them also for the sin of breaking his roof 😂)

Jokes apart, when we go beyond our limits to making things work why will not God go beyond what we are asking of Him? These folks came for healing they walked away with healing of the body and the heart. We will never go wrong when we pursue, persevere and go crazy in our faith in Christ.

The present global suspense caused by coronavirus is causing various levels of stress for leaders across the industry. No one would have imagined 2020 to be like this. In fact, one of my friends posted on her Instagram an interesting question, ‘ Can we agree that in 2015 not a single person got the answer correct to the question, where do you see yourself in five years?’ I did not and I know of no one who was prepared for such a global suspense. This pandemic has challenged virtually every contingency plan and risk mitigation strategy that leaders have ever envisioned. Even now, with over 6 months in the pandemic, it seems like leaders are under tremendous stress and perhaps clueless. It is not easy to lead amidst Covid-19. However, don’t let Covid 19 limit your reach and desire to pursue your call. Continue in your leadership with passion filled with love, perseverance, out of the box thinking and the courage to do all it takes to make a difference in & to our paralysed world.

How desperate are you?

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