Christian Leadership- Are We Called to be Relevant?

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In Henry Nouwen’s book, “In the name of JESUS,” Reflections on Christian Leadership, Nouwen reviews the temptations of Christ as a leader:

JESUS’ FIRST TEMPTATION WAS TO BE RELEVANT:
To turn stones into bread. …After all, the people were hungry and are priests and ministers not called to help people, to feed the hungry and alleviate the suffering in people’s lives?
Are we not called to do something that makes people realize that we do make a difference in their lives?
But when Jesus was asked to prove his power as the son of God by the relevant behaviors of turning the stones into bread, he clung to his mission to proclaim the Word and said, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Nouwen saw that one of the main sufferings experienced in ministry is that of low self-esteem, wondering if they are really making a difference in lives although they were kept very busy.
The secular world around us is saying we can take care of ourselves, we are in control, and if not, then we have to work harder to gain control.
Sometimes in the Pregnancy Centre ministry we see centres doing a lot of outreach and serving the people in the community in many practical ways through programs and services. These services are acknowledged by the community as good works. We can get a sense of tangibly helping others with a care closet for Moms and babes, with giving out clothes and formula, parenting tips on safety and understanding the development of their baby – all good things, but the question is, is that what you have been called to do? Is that your mission? Is it the passion that God has placed on your hearts? According to our 2013 stats only 15% of all new clients at CAPSS affiliated centres were abortion minded or abortion vulnerable. For a regional breakdown of this stat check the resources in the affiliate section of our website.
Just as Jesus was tempted to feed the hungry, there is a temptation for us to be relevant in our work as well; and to appear relevant to others, offering relevant services. We won’t be shunned or criticized for doing these good works. The media will probably write a positive story on the new community service, and we hope they do. But, what wisdom we need from the Holy Spirit each and every day to follow the lead of the Lord!
Beneath all the great accomplishments of our time there is a deep current of despair. While efficiency and control are the great aspirations of our society, the loneliness, isolation, lack of friendship and intimacy, broken relationships, boredom, feelings of emptiness and depression and a deep sense of uselessness fill the hearts of millions of our success-oriented world.
Nouwen states, in his book on the chapter “From relevance to prayer”…..
“It is here that the need for a new Christian leadership becomes clear. The Leaders of the future will be those who dare to claim their irrelevance in the contemporary world as a divine vocation that allows them to enter into a deep solidarity with the anguish underlying all the glitter of success and to bring the light of Jesus there!”
leadership photo

Written by Lola French, Executive Director of Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services
One of our CrossRoads’ supported missionaries

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