Jesus promises that part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to unpack His wisdom for every new situation we will face so that we will know how to think and act afresh to every new challenge. Amidst the uncertainty and upheaval of such brutality and carnage now at our doorstep, done by people determined to destroy us, what might be our response as Christ-followers? How do we mentor others who look to us for leadership? I do not, by any means, have the final word on this. But the following are a few things to consider: Love and pray for ISIS. How do we love our enemies? We begin by praying for them — in this case ISIS young men and women. They need a revelation of Jesus Christ. Thankfully, we have many contemporary testimonies of Muslims having extraordinary conversions to Jesus via dreams, visions, etc. Grieve. We need to lead our people to grieve. Read more.
For the first 17 years of my Christian life I grew in knowledge and leadership experience. I worked with university students full-time, graduated from seminary, and started a church. My leadership gifts blossomed. The size and impact of the ministry expanded. The problem was that growing in love was not my number one aim. I focused on bigger, better, and faster – like most of the leaders around me. I wasn’t asking myself: Am I meeker, patient, soft, safe, approachable, courageous, kind, and honest this year than I was last year? Am I less easily triggered under stress? Am I breaking my bad habits from my family of origin (e.g. stuffing resentments, lying when hurt, resolving conflicts poorly, not being attentive)? Are people close to me experiencing me as loving? A revolution took place in my life when I read Jonathan Edward’s sermons on 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. His exegesis and insights launched a Copernican. Read more.
Anxious. Frustrated. Annoyed. Angry. Resentful. These are emotional states that describe our leadership more often than we care to admit. Relaxed is not an adjective I hear often to describe us as Christian leaders. Consider this important case study of Moses. Moses worked and waited for almost forty years to enter the Promised Land. Having started with 603,550 men to manage — not to mention all the women and children — Moses’ and Aaron’s patience was repeatedly tested to the limit by a seemingly endless barrage of complaints. When the people cry about their lack of food and water and accuse Moses of bringing them out into the desert to die, Moses is livid. At this point, he is also exhausted and has little capacity to manage his anger and resentment. Imagine the scene as he loses his cool: The LORD said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather. Read more.
I am in the midst of two books that reflect the challenge of integration of “Emotionally Healthy Contemplative Leadership” — Finding Sanctuary: Monastic Steps for Everyday Life, by Abbot Christopher Jamison and Winning on Purpose: How to Organize Congregations to Succeed in Their Mission, by John Edmund Kaiser. They draw on very different parts of our spirituality as leaders and can seem opposed to one another. I believe, however, that we must find the kind of leadership found among many of the early church fathers (Origen , Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Augustine, Ambrose -to name a few). Many of them were bishops, leaders, monks and theologians with a profound love for God. Finding Sanctuary is filled with practical insights. Perhaps the most significant for me is his section on silence. Reflecting on his own life, he notes how “before I could offer sanctuary, I had to find it.” He notes that exterior silence. Read more.