Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Portrait of a Christian Leader

I just finished "Courageous Leadership" by Bill Hybels. I also got the chance yesterday to sit for an hour and chat with a new friend from Chicago (in Michigan on business) about his involvement at Willowcreek. I was pleased to hear all that he was involved in and he shared his heart openly of his passion for the poor and homeless in the windy city. This post isn't about Chicago, Bill Hybels, Willow Creek or the poor. This is about Jesus. I was asked to help develop some Christian leadership training materials this week. I brainstormed and studied and all I could come up with was this graphic. In Matthew 13:33 Jesus says (paraphrased) the Kingdom of Heaven is like the woman who hid a small amount of leaven in two measures of flour and the whole dough was leavened. She hid it. I think following Christ is like that and so is christian leadership. See a need, meet a need, proclaim the Kingdom of God (with a gentle spirit not as a street preacher) and like the leaven hidden in the dough, the whole world will be transformed. Every single act of sacrificial love does this. In secret, in humility, in surrender it changes the world just a bit at a time never looking back, never to be the same again. And look at the graphic. Look at the 'bud scar'. It costs. As that bud separates and multiplies there is suffering. Yes it isn't prosperity gospel its bearing the cost of turning the other cheek, absorbing violence, people looking at you like you are absurd, yes its scandalous but that is how the Kingdom advances and it doesn't look like some rewritten 'Total Quality Management' program from yuppieville. I find it increasingly difficult to love those who call themselves christians yet claim for some reason they are exempt from hardship as they strive in their prayer life and study life and wear their shawls and wave their banners and then go home in their SUV to catch 'American Idol' on the bigscreen before they throw away half their cookie that they can't possibly finish. Maybe thats the log in my eye. Although Jesus held the leaders of the church accountable, not the lost, but the shepards. Lord help me love and serve those people. I prefer those that don't believe in you. I'd rather be in a slum or village or prison than to go back into the church. At least I don't have to explain to them why my faith is not strong enough to heal myself of asthma.

I'm just ranting. No one from my church reads this anyway. They talk about me not to me.


Steve Coan said...

We are brothers, then. They quit reading a long time ago. And the scars I bear are from my own mistakes. And the pain I endure is for my own sins. And the pain I cause is evil. Why is it all about me?

Isn't there anyone else who sees Christ in everything?

If the kingdom really was among us once, and if it really can be again, couldn't I find it in the everyday things like Jesus did? Wouldn't the things I do every day matter?

Or is it all about leadership?

so we can be successful

as some are

and get a big screen tv

and american idol

I love the post.

Steve Coan said...

Also, it's not just Jesus who is against the shepherds. See Ezekiel 34. I mention that lest someone gets the idea that Jesus' problems with bad shepherding was particular to a few bad dudes on the take. It's a spiritual issue, not a personal one. It keeps coming around and around. The rebukes are just as valid today. As are the praises.

Sam said...

thanks Steve. It seems so arrogant to actually believe that the church (the organization or club) needs a broken person like me to draw a picture but if not we, then whom? I'd like to just turn my back but somehow that doesn't seem right either. I am the one with the log in his eye. I'm at peace with where my money (or his I should say) goes, where my time goes, where my convictions are and then I get the request from out of the blue asking me to get involved again and here I sit. At least I know I'm not alone.