Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Ed Miliband, Terry Virgo & Ernest Shackleton - a new kind of leadership.

It’s the time of year for football managers to play musical chairs, scrambling for the nearest vacant seat that offers more money or security. In politics, Ed Miliband looks increasingly likely to be stabbed in the back by a Labour party who gambled on the wrong brother & lost. In Libya, Syria & that other corrupt world power, FIFA, leadership is in question. The pace of leadership change is huge – the patience of the paying public shorter than ever. Like never before, the world needs more leaders, but what kind of weak, people pleasing leaders emerge from the bad soil of this kind of distorted culture?

Reading Terry Virgo’s new book, ‘The Spirit Filled Church’ , a high bar is set for leadership. Read this passage & get your idea of leadership redefined by some glorious truth rather than the demands of a self centred world:
‘If the church is perceived as simply a gathering of people who attend religious services, little leadership is required. Leading the meetings & preaching sermons are all that must be mastered. If however, the church is seen in a different light, namely as the focal point of God’s purposes for world evangelisation & the key centre for discipleship, training, envisioning & releasing ministry, then leadership takes on a totally new meaning.’

‘Leaders are needed who will genuinely inspire a following by their godly character & charismatic gifting. Good leaders are worth their weight in gold. Christians count it a privilege to follow them. The ascended Christ is determined to have a mature & well functioning church, & to accomplish this He has made anointed leadership a top priority. He has ascended on high & has given some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists & some pastors & teachers.’

If Terry is right, then it is the unlikely academy of the local church that becomes the melting pot for all those who aspire to leadership, to be shaped & formed into men & women of conviction. Those who themselves will shape & transform our society so often devoid of true, bold leadership. The church, that old battle scarred institution, with all her faults & failings – still the hope of all the earth!

Where are such men & women? Are they queuing at the door to get on the programme? Are they thrilled & inspired by what they observe in the lives of those of us who already lead? Maybe they are bored, caught up with the minutiae of life? Maybe they lack courage to see themselves standing above the parapet? Perhaps we have failed to lead them into passionate & dangerous lives? The spirit of Shackleton’s old call should be heard again by those who are looking for such a leader to follow. Writing in the press in 1907 before his expedition to the Antarctic:

'Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.'

Shackleton’s haunting words don’t sound that different from how Paul viewed his apostleship. The scum of the earth, ship wrecked, beaten, misunderstood. Words describing leadership which put fear into the hearts of many who draw back, but draw dreams & greatness from the few who step forward. Now doesn’t that make you yearn for some adventures in leadership which change the world?

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