As a leader, I was incredibly drawn to the title of this book. What leader doesn’t experience pain? At first, I thought the book was going to have a masochistic message. I was expecting, “Every leader experiences pain. Jesus did. So suck it up and keep serving.” I was wrong. Having read my share of leadership books, Leadership Pain is definitely among the most helpful books I’ve read that speaks to a leader’s soul. It’s a book that should be required reading for any leadership training or preparation.
Leadership Pain is both challenging and shepherding to leaders. Specifically, I really liked how Samuel Chand started each chapter with a testimony of leaders who have experienced pain. I also really loved how each chapter ended with a summary, suggestions on how to take the thoughts deeper and with a reminder of the main premise of the book: “you’ll grow only to the threshold of your pain.”
I appreciated Chand’s tone in this book. He validates and identifies with leaders in their pain, but he also brings hope and meaning in the pain. Here is an example of why the book is so needed in our North American culture of Christian leadership.
“Paradoxically, Christians often have more difficulty handling personal pain than unbelievers. They look at the promises of God and conclude they God should fill their lives with joy, love, support and success. That’s reading the bible selectively. The scriptures state—clearly and often—that enduring pain is one of the ways, perhaps the main way God works his grace deeply into our lives.”
This is not only true of leaders, but I think most Christians who have grown up in a comfort obsessed expectation. We have the idea that pain is bad and comfort is good. We do all we can to get rid of pain and back to comfortable. When we do, we circumvent what God wants to do in us and through us.
“Do you want to be a better leader? Raise the threshold of your pain. Do you want your church to grow? Do you want your business to reach higher goals? Reluctance to face pain is your greatest limitation. There is not growth without change, no change without loss, and no loss without pain. If you’re not hurting, you’re not leading.”
As much as I didn’t want to accept this statement by Chand, my experience and the reality of scripture confirms its truth.