Go ahead. Try it.

Pick up an object — something nearby. Your keys, a pen, the phone you’re reading this on. Now, let go of it.

Were you surprised by what happened? Of course not.

If you tried it again with 100 different objects, would you get a different result? Nope. Not once.

The reason? Gravity.


Gravity is a law. Drop anything and it will involuntarily plunge toward the ground at 9.78 m/s². Young kids don’t know the term gravity but they learn the concept pretty quickly.

You can’t stop gravity. No matter what your intentions hopes or dreams are, you can’t cheat gravity.

What’s the point for leaders?

Like gravity, there are laws at play in the universe of leadership that can’t be stopped, wished away, or cheated:

  • Cultivating your heart for God is your highest priority. Neglect your soul and it will come back to bite you.
  • Prioritize your family over your ministry or else you’ll lose both. Love your work more than your family and they will eventually resent you.
  • Love people if you want to lead them. Merely use people and watch your influence evaporate.
  • Work on your life and ministry (not just in it) or you’ll neglect what really matters. Without big-picture forethought, the urgent always crowds out the important.
  • The best leaders learn from others. Insist on your own way at your own risk.

The list could go on.

The Irony

As ministry leaders, we often get frustrated by how people train-wreck their lives. We think, “How could you not see this coming?!” We are broken-hearted as we watch people take steps that will inevitably lead to their ruin. We think, “Pain is going to happen. It’s just gravity.”

Then, as leaders, we get frustrated by the state of our ministry. Few people seem to have a heart for the lost. Passion for Jesus is tepid. New people aren’t stepping up to volunteer. Giving is sluggish. People seem bored.

Ironically, we fail to see that this is just gravity. We blame others or start beating the sheep when the reality is that we’re often just experiencing the predictable outcomes of our leadership.

People have lost their passion for God and the lost because we lost ours first. New people aren’t volunteering because we haven’t created straightforward on-ramps into serving. Giving is sluggish because we haven’t taught on it enough or put the systems in place to maximize generosity. People seem bored because our energy is flagging.

People follow and feed off of leaders. It’s a law. Just like gravity.

Next time you feel frustrated by the people you’re leading, just remember…it’s gravity.

[NOTE: I’m indebted to Scott Brown, a good friend and fellow pastor, for this analogy. He’s planning a sermon series for New Valley Church based on the idea. Should be great.]

Want to see gravity at work? Check this out:

Published by Luke Simmons

I was born and raised in Denver, CO and lived there through high school. Then I moved to Champaign, IL where I attended the University of Illinois and played on the Fighting Illini baseball team. I was married in December, 2001 to Molly, who I met at the U of I. In June of 2002, we moved to Phoenix and have been here ever since.

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