Thursday, July 30, 2015

What Does Courageous Leadership Look Like Today?

Years ago when I spoke of “courageous leadership” I typically meant the willingness of a pastor or leader to take risks, defy conventional wisdom or stand up to cherished, but no longer useful, traditions.

Today, “courageous leadership” has taken on a new meaning. It no longer simply refers to leading our congregations through much-needed, but fiercely resisted, change. It now includes leading them through a gauntlet of cultural and legal landmines resulting from an increasingly hostile spiritual environment.

If you haven’t noticed, the former “silent majority” has become the “silenced minority.” Those of us who dare to publicly espouse or live by biblical values often face a fierce backlash. We’re blackballed, boycotted or labeled as dangerously backward for holding views that until recently were considered mainstream and widely accepted by both Christians and non-Christians alike.

It’s left many Jesus followers fearful, frustrated and angry.

Unfortunately, fear, frustration and anger don’t foster a heart for the lost. Instead, they turn our focus inward, toward self-preservation, something that can be seen in our current tendency toward two extremes: isolation and warfare.

The problem with isolation is that it separates us from the very people we’re called to reach. It puts up walls where we’re supposed to build bridges. The problem with warfare is that it turns our mission on its ear. Instead of seeing the lost as victims of the enemy, they become the enemy. They become adversaries to be overcome, rather than captives to be rescued.

As pastors and leaders it’s our job to point our people toward a better way. When despair runs rampant, we must proclaim the certainty of biblical hope. When anger reaches a boiling point, we must call for Jesuslike love and humility. And when everything becomes a battleground, we must show them how to pick their battles wisely.

That’s not easy to do. But it can be done. And a man named Daniel shows us how. Keep reading

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