Leadership in a Culture of Cowardice (part nine)

As we consider how to lead our churches in these challenging times for Christianity in the US, we’re exploring the third of nine leadership principles: Promote healthy differentiation within the church or system you lead.

Just to review, the first two principles 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.

Two: Take full responsibility for your own emotional being and destiny.

Jesus is our primary role model to live and lead successfully. His way of being demonstrates how he sought to promote healthy differentiation in the lives of those he influenced.

23 epilepsy For example, in Mark 9:29, the disciples are unable to free the boy with the symptoms of epilepsy. Jesus behaves as if they are responsible for their own preparation for ministry: “This kind can come out only by prayer.

Rather than taking that responsibility upon himself, Jesus’ response indicates that regular Christians can actually free those suffering horrible maladies like this boy’s epilepsy.

It’s what he expects us to do.

23 clintonMy dear friend and mentor, Dr. J. Robert Clinton [Professor of Leadership at the School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary] taught me what he called Goodwin’s Expectation Principle.

Essentially it is this:

“People will live up to the expectations of those who they respect.”

Jesus seems to have understood this.

Rather than making allowances for their playing small, their preference for comfort, and their penchant for control, Jesus lived as if he expected his followers to live and minister like he did. He expected them to trust God and step up to the challenges that life presented.

Didn’t he?

Jesus had garnered their respect by the way he lived over the time they traveled and ministered together. So, after his ascension, not surprisingly, they lived up to his clear and challenging expectations.

Pastor, you have earned the respect of many of those you lead.

Maybe not all.

Certainly some.

How clear, challenging, Kingdom-impacting, and God-honoring is the way of life you expect that they live?