A Culture of Cowardice (part two)

 

  1. Courageous leadership is, by nature, decisive.

LC2015 scalpel 7And, the Latin root of decisive means “to cut”.   But, it is not nice to cut anything away, to cut anything off, to cut anything out—even a toxic presence – like a parasite – that survives by sucking the life out of those who are healthy.

To lead with heart is to stand for what’s best, simply because it is best—even when unpopular. Even when it provokes opposition from misguided stakeholders within the Church…draining its vitality.

 

  1. Courageous leadership, by nature, is clear.

Such a leader is unapologetically clear about who she is, the difference she is committed to make in the world, her values and priorities.

The clearer you are as a leader, the clearer people around you will become.

And, therein lies the problem. As pastors, we don’t always like what that clarity reveals. As you become more and more clear as a leader, more and more people will decide they’re not “up” for going where you’re going. Stay foggy and many will stick around, wandering in impotent ambiguity.

But, those who get behind a leader who is clear will be a powerful force for good—the good to which that leader’s been called.

 

  1. Courageous leadership, by nature, is disruptive.

Courageous leaders routinely disrupt dysfunction. They regularly challenge their own preference for comfort—and that of those they lead.

Many interpret their leadership as crisis-inducing.

LC 2015 disruptive 7Edwin Friedman notes that crises are normative in leaders’ lives. These crises come from two sources: those that just arise, imposed upon the leader from forces outside that leader’s control and crises that are initiated by the leader doing exactly what she should be doing. Jesus did this all the time. But, notice the reluctance of anyone in church leadership to lead in a way that invites a crisis for long-standing church members.

As a leadership coach and consultant to pastors, my life’s work is to champion Christian influencers to find their hearts and to fully re-engage them in this great, important struggle to stir the Church from its slumber.  

There is no altogether “nice” way to do this.

LC 2015 jonah 7Just five verses into his story, Jonah is asleep below decks, aboard a ship imperiled in a brutal storm. The terrified captain races below, stunned to find Jonah asleep — in so critical a moment. Waking Jonah, he demands: “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your God! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.” [Jon1:6]

Get this, folks: it was not a follower of Yahweh who stirred Jonah from slumber—calling him to take action with God lest the “community” they were part of be plunged to ruin.

Look around you.

Is not the community around your church caught in a destructive storm?

A moral, ethical, and spiritual hurricane that wills to destroy the fabric of American society? Don’t you see the storm buffeting the Christian faith—driving it to the very edges of the culture?

To awaken the Church, her leaders must first rouse themselves.

Then, embracing the opportunity provided by this life, they can stand clearly, decisively, and disruptively to awaken their churches to enter the glorious and dangerous fight for the redemption of the community around them.

What else would a Christ-follower do?