SO YOU WANT TO BE A LEADER

There is no end to the material being written about leadership these days. One that I am looking forward to reading is The Catalyst Leader by Brad Lomenick. Brad is in the unique position of being able to rub shoulders with the best and brightest Christian leaders in the world today through his work with The Catalyst Conference. Brad has become a great leader in the process. After I read the book, I’ll blog some of his principles.

But, for now I just want to state one of the most important leadership principles I know. I have the privilege of working around a lot of young adults and second chair leaders who want to be first chair leaders. Observing these potential leaders, I have decided on what I feel is a key beginning point for being a leader. Are you ready? Here it is: Show up… On time.

Let me explain. In a world where we are all connected to the hilt with electronic devices, there is no excuse for missing a meeting, or showing up late any more. Let me break this down into two parts.

SHOW UP. This is simple. If you say you will be somewhere, be there. I find a lot of young adults have a fluid sense of priorities with meetings. They will set a meeting, and then allow almost any reason get in the way of keeping that commitment. A commitment is a commitment. Here is why this is important: Leadership is based on trust. Trust is based on reliability. If you are reliable, I will begin to trust you. If you are not reliable I cannot trust you. If I can’t trust you, I won’t let you lead me. You want to be my leader – be reliable!

Occasionally we all need to cancel a meeting. That’s life. But if you have a reputation of blowing off meetings on a regular basis, don’t expect forgiveness over and over again. Expect a reputation for being unreliable instead.

BE ON TIME. My time is important to me. If I give you space on my calendar, I am choosing to give you priority over a bunch of other stuff I could be doing. Right now I am waiting on someone who wanted to meet with me to get my help. He is now 15 minutes late. “No big deal” you say. It is to me. What this says to me is that this person doesn’t respect my time. And this person wants my help in finding a job? So what am I supposed to say to the potential employer who calls for a reference on this person?

Showing up late to a meeting involving multiple people is in some ways even worse. By being late you are saying you don’t respect any of those people’s time. Do you want them to see you as a leader? But you don’t respect them. Fat chance!

This person is now 28 minutes late. He is only cheating himself at this point. I’ve got another meeting in 32 minutes. At least I used this wasted time to write a blog post.

 


 

THEOLOGY OR MISSION IN THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION

I almost never get involved in Southern Baptist politics. I had enough of that when I was young. I watched as the SBC went from a missional movement to a theological entity. I remember when “Unity in Diversity” was considered one of the strongest values of the convention. Then some folks believed diversity to be wrong, and placed theology over mission as the definition of what makes a Southern Baptist.

On the one hand, I certainly understand that there have to be boundaries – even in diversity. There must be a core of beliefs that are non-negotiable. The problem always comes when people begin to define what is and what is not within that core of beliefs.

Fast forward to today. It is Southern Baptist Convention time, and this year the leadership has decided to do something about the “elephant in the room” as last year’s SBC President Bryant Wright called it (http://www.sbclife.org/Articles/2013/06/SLA1.asp). So what is this elephant: Inerrancy? No. Women in ministry? No. Homosexuality? No.  All of those issues have been used in the past to further divide the people called Southern Baptists. Now the issue is Calvinist/Reformed verses Arminian/Wesleyan.

Level headed leaders in the convention are calling for unity of mission to trump these theological differences (where have we heard that before?). But the reality is this: As long as the SBC is to be defined along theological lines, it will become an ever shrinking convention. That is sad. Sure, these theological differences are important, but I agree with the sentiment of Wright: “Wright said he was concerned that Christ-centered, Bible-believing Southern Baptists will be so engaged in correcting one another’s theological views when it comes to election and salvation that they will be distracted from their mission of rescuing captives who need to be liberated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

I have close pastor friends who are Reformed and close pastor friends who are Arminian in their views of salvation. Then I’ve got close pastor friends who don’t know where they stand on these issues. But in our association, we rise above this and work together to reach out to people far from God. We have a mission – given by God – that drives what we do. We are a Network of churches, equipping churches for kingdom ministry. We will all never agree on theology, but we all love Jesus and want to obey the commission he gave us.

I hope the Southern Baptist Convention finds its way through this situation. If it does, much great kingdom work can result. If it doesn’t, it is just one more issue to weaken the witness of this great organization.