Compendium (part one)
Leadership Courage Series # 35
This series on Leadership Courage began more than a year ago. Inspired by Edwin Friedman’s A Failure of Nerve, I set out to do two things. First, to establish the context: the Church in North America is, as they say in the South, “eat up” with anxiety.
Chronically anxious, the Church exhibits a culture of cowardice in hundreds of ways.
Unwilling to stand with clarity and self-differentiation, the Church has surrendered much of what makes Christianity distinctive.
And for what?
For the chance to have a seat at the table with the cultural elites. Trouble is, those at the table tolerate our being there only as long as we toe the party line. In other words, the Church must surrender what makes Christianity Christian. And, have you noticed, the cultural progressives keep moving the “line”.
Farther and farther from Christian orthodoxy.
And, as they do, the Church keeps surrendering truth so it can stay at the “table”. What some fail to see is that as the Church prostitutes herself in this way, the greater culture, more and more, views us with disdain, not esteem.
Adrift of our biblical moorings we float aimlessly downstream along with the culture… a culture that’s destroying itself with self-indulgence.
Second, my aim is to invite you to embrace the kinds of leadership that are most necessary for the Church, in this condition, in this hour.
Again, Friedman’s genius has been my guide.
Nine leadership distinctives were offered. In a season of immense challenge, of unprecedented pace of change, and of undeniable urgency for Christian ministers to step into the leadership void, nine essential leadership traits will define those who will lead the Church out of its decades-long regression.
Here they are:
One: Courageous leadership is not about skill, technique, or knowledge. It is, most of all, about the presence of the leader as he or she moves through life.
Christian ministry is people development.
We are called to “equip God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may … become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” [Eph 4:12-13]
That Christian leaders misunderstand the primacy of developing mature disciples may help explain why the Church is impregnated with immaturity in this hour.
Our job, as Christians, is to make mature disciples of Jesus. Not to run programs that educate and entertain receptive religious folks.
So they live like Jesus would be living if Jesus were living in their place.
The most important person for you to champion to maturity in Christ is you.
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