UNLEASHING POTENTIAL IN STORYCENTRIC COMMUNITIES

Christ-centered Leadership

Five Qualities of a Peacemaker – How Leaders Respond to Conflict

Since last Summer, we’ve brought several prayer requests to you regarding conflicts here in the United States and around the world. There have been fears of civil war, coup d’etats, and tribal conflicts. Just last week we shared a prayer request regarding the need for peace and protection amid violent clashes in Senegal, West Africa. This week we praise God for news that a calm has returned to Senegal, but is calm the same as peace? Conflict is rarely neat, simple, or even clear. Sadly, the causes of conflict are many, but all conflicts demand a response.

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What Sets “Christ-Centered Leadership” Apart?

Christ-centered leadership (CCL) has become familiar verbiage over the past decade. Like “servant leadership,” its usage is ubiquitous, but its meaning varies among those who use the term. A quick Google search for CCL yields a range of definitions that include acting with integrity, hearing God’s voice, and being anchored in the presence, power, and ministry of God. What distinguishes Jesus’ leadership in light of more dominant leadership models of His day and ours?

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What Does Your Vision Undo?

Effective leaders are known for their ability to inspire in others their vision for a preferred future. These leaders imagine how the changes inherent in their vision will benefit their employees, their target population, and their bottom line. But less often do leaders think carefully about what their vision will undo.

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Leadership During the Downturn

We live in uncertain times. COVID-19 is the earthquake that is rocking us at the moment, but the pandemic’s devastating after-shocks will shake people and societies for years to come. As the disease ravages many lives, the economic and psychological impact of this virus will likely wreak havoc on a much greater number of the world’s population. As leaders face the challenging months ahead, how will others remember us when the dust settles? Jim’s story is instructional for leaders during the downturn.

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A Gospel of Work

The biblical idea of the “gospel” is more than simply the individual salvation of men and women. Rather, the gospel impacts everything, including our work. This more robust idea of the gospel can be seen through a four-chapter biblical narrative: (1) Creation, (2) Fall, (3) Redemption, and (4) Fulfillment.

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Making a Mindset

I am grateful for my church heritage that prioritized disciple-making around the world. Introducing men and women to the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ and cultivating them to become mature, reproducing  leaders have been the privilege of my personal and vocational life. But the church’s penchant for lionizing missionaries and pastors – like myself – because of our status as “full-time ministers” has created a collective myopia in our ranks. This poor lens hinders us from seeing the broader landscape that is richly populated by Christian believers with enormous potential to advance the Kingdom as mechanics, marketers, mothers, and medical technicians.

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Higher Calling

The church of my childhood graced me with priceless truths. But in church I also heard a half-truth. It is the notion that people who work in vocational Christian ministry have a high calling, and those who work in secular jobs don’t. This half-truth was more implied than overt, more caught than taught. It led me to choices I didn’t know I was making. Only later did I come to know how much this half-truth shaped my life, and how for countless others it has shut off whole worlds that might have been.

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Effective Leadership Development – The Blind Men and the Elephant

Last week examined the categories for effective Christ-centered leadership development that make up its components. An organization or ministry may focus on one or more of these categories.

  1. character formation
  2. biblical literacy
  3. context-specific skills
  4. ministry development

By sizing up the task before us, knowing we are functioning in these categories, we think that all’s well that ends well, right? Yes, but here’s the caveat. Research shows that “while every emerging Christ-centered leader needs all four of these categories to be truly effective, no single school or service provider is proficient to develop leaders effectively in all four categories.

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Four Categories of Leadership Development

Leadership Development Over the past several weeks we have been looking at how the term “leadership development” means a lot of things to a lot of people and without a common understanding of terms we might get lost in the wild west of expansion. Last week we at Freedom to Lead defined Christ-centered “leadership development” as “adult-focused, intentional cultivation that seeks to establish and enhance effective Christ-centered leadership practices.” However, merely having a working definition of leadership development is not sufficient to make the way forward. We need to size up the task before us.

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The Wild West of Leadership Development

Leadership development is often like the Wild West expansion in the mid 19thcentury. When I was in my elementary and middle school years you would most likely find me building forts in the woods creating a world of my own. My brother and I and our neighborhood friends would create new paths and “discover” new streams and ponds. These were simpler days when our time was set by the arrival of lightning bugs that signaled dinner was ready. One of my favorite forms of creative outside play was to imagine we lived in pioneer days, the days of covered wagons and panning for gold. Perhaps it was a unit we studied in school or this new computer program called “Oregon Trail” that inspired me, but I liked to imagine that quest of making our way west. At the time we lived just across the Hudson River from New York City. The idea of “westward expansion” to Oregon and California was mesmerizing.

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Leadership Matters

We believe that leaders make a huge difference in people's lives.