Humble confidence. It's not an oxymoron, but it might as well be. It's such a difficult tension to manage and, most times, I end up neglecting one at the expense of the other. Or, I end up emphasizing one at the expense of the other.
In its' most simple terms, the challenge is:
How does one confidently and expectantly walk in all that God has for them without developing an attitude of arrogance and presumption?
And for church leaders, the stakes are high. Whether a leader can get this right can be the difference between someone being attracted to the gospel or disgusted by it. Whether a leader can get this right can be the difference between high-capacity leaders being drawn to the church or repelled by it. Whether a leader can get this right can be the difference between the reputation of Christians being improved or diminished.
Cockiness or false humility. How can you avoid the danger of falling prey to either of the extremes?
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is currently providing a tremendous amount of insight in regards to how this can be done.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
"Much fruit" (productivity, results, blessing) is a result of living a life connected to Christ. This is where our confidence should find its source. Fruit is a promise. But, apart from Christ we can do nothing. This is where our humility should find its source. Fruit is something only Christ can produce.
In short, humble confidence can be achieved by being absolutely convinced of both what is promised and who makes it possible...at the very same time.
Christ promises fruit - walk confidently in this promise! Fruit apart from Christ is impossible - walk humbly in this reality!