Last week we began talking about what it takes to actually change the world around you – what it takes to not only have a dream for change but to begin that process of change. We talked about Nehemiah, a little known figure in the Old Testament, who not only had a ridiculously big dream for change, he worked the idea and recruited the masses to help him progress towards making that dream a reality. Today we finish the story as we catalogue the principles and techniques Nehemiah used to accomplish what seemed impossible. Not only did Nehemiah achieve something magnificent, he also left clues and tools along the way for us to pick up on and use to apply to the changes we want to effect in our own lives.
(Part 2 in a 2-part series) About a month ago we began talking about leadership – Christian leadership - and how important it is for a Christian community – any community - to have significant leadership. Without leadership, people tend towards their own way and more than that, without leadership people tend towards a self-centered and incomplete perception of the world around them. Our last conversation revolved around the internal aspects of leadership – what makes a leader from the inside out – today we talk about what makes a leader from the outside in.
(Part 1 in a 2-part series) Leadership – In today’s world, it is one of the most important necessities of life and sadly it is one of the most absent aspects of life. Humanity needs leaders. We need leaders to show us a vision, to clear a path, to walk the path first and to thereby help us walk the path. Christians just like humanity need leaders as well. Sure we have Jesus as the Captain of our faith and sure we have the Apostles, the 12 pillars of Christianity, but we also need those whose examples we can see, touch and relate to here and now, at the end of the age. So, what makes a Christian Leader?
We live in an age and a country of great enlightenment, in which we are all very aware of the need to recognize the rights of all men and women alike. We have laws that specifically forbid discrimination against anyone based on race or gender. We know that it is right (though unfortunately not always practiced) to give a man and a women equal pay for equal work. All of this enlightenment and yet, when we look at the Bible, it seems to undermine these principles. Well, does the Bible teach that women are equal to and as important as men?
If you look around the world we live in, you will see all kinds of crises. There are worldwide political, ecological, and social crises. There are family and religious crises. There are national crises of debt, jobs and economy. With all of these varied crises, there is one element that is common to all. I would go as far as to say that if this one element were firm and stable, then the crisis associated with it would be far less of a crisis and much more of an issue. This one element is Leadership. With it, there is a past track record, a present direction and a future vision. Without it, there is – well, without it there is crisis and with that crisis there is diminished hope. While we are not in a position to address most of the crises just mentioned, we will take this morning and address Leadership in Christianity – how important is it and what gives one the ability and the authority to lead?