Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Leadership In Tough Times

Author, writer Gordon MacDonald always seems to come up with right words and thoughts for the right time and moment.

He has done that again (at least for me) with these words from a recent article he wrote in Leadership Journal entitled, "No Time To Cower".

Here is an excerpt:

The worldwide economic crisis seems the most immediate challenge. Worst case scenario? Many churches will not survive (it's happened before). Christian schools and seminaries will gasp for air; some will suffocate. Parachurch and missions organizations will find themselves in a Darwinian struggle for funding. Theological ideas built on prosperity, American superiority, and asset accumulation will be severely tested.

Wild times lead people to pursue spiritual realities. Look for an uptick in prayer, spiritual friendships, greater curiosity about what the Bible says about life's priorities. Wild times humble the arrogant and acquaint us with the struggles of the poor. Compassion and generosity take on a new meaning. That's not too bad.
There are two possibilities here. One is that I simply don't know what I'm talking about, and it's full steam ahead into business-as-usual. The other? That these conditions do indeed call for a courageous response like Foch's approach to turbulent times: "I attack." A bold advance.

That's what I pray the Christian movement will do. Not retrenchment! But a bold advance involves dramatic change: in leadership, in ways of doing Jesus' work, in innovative new thought about the meaning and impact of the gospel. Again, I say: attack!

What could that possibility mean to people of spiritual influence in these days?

Several experimental ideas:

1. Let's go back to the Bible and rediscover what godly people said and did when the sky was falling in their generation. New insights, possibly?

2. Let's make sure we have something substantial to say to those who are victimized by this economic tsunami: those losing their jobs, those who thought they were economically secure in their old age and discovered they aren't, and youth who might be fearing that there's no dream out there for them.

3. Let's reappraise our priorities of generosity and make sure that the giving-dollar goes to efforts that advance Christian ministry in enduring and deepening ways. Enough of the silly ways the Christian-dollar has been raised and wasted.

4. Let's think repentantly about how a lot of us have allowed ourselves to be caught up in a global financial system that was largely based on greed and falsehood. Lots of Christian organizations are crying about what has been lost because of this flawed financial system. But we ought not to forget it was that same system that helped those organizations get a lot of what they had. What goes up often comes down.

5. Maybe it's time to seek new ways of doing Christian service, ways less dependent upon money and bricks and mortar and more dependent upon unadulterated spiritual power. The early Christian movement, it seems to me, knew a lot about this.

6. We need to ask ourselves if we have any kind of message rising from the words and life of Jesus that would be significant to those in our larger world who thought they had a better way than Jesus' way. Revival time?

Confession: I have never been a great proponent of "revivals" because too many of them (the modern ones anyway) seemed contrived. But maybe—just maybe—we're at the brink of a real one.

If you wish to read the entire article - go HERE