In considering what leadership in the church must look like in order for the people of God to be equipped to work for the redemptive good of the kingdom in whatever sphere of influence they have been called to, I was struck by this quote:
The people of God, individually and collectively, are called to give expression to the redemptive work of God in all of their lives. As we’ve seen, the challenges to this calling in our time are formidable to say the least. What has been missing is a leadership that comprehends the nature of these challenges and offers a vision of formation adequate to the task of discipling the church and its members for a time such as ours. By misreading the nature of the times and by focusing so much energy and resources on politics, those who have claimed the mantle of leadership have fixed attention on secondary and tertiary problems and false solutions. By admonishing Christian lay people for not, in effect, being Christian enough, they shift responsibility for their own failures onto those they lead.
(James D. Hunter, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World, pp. 226)
Offering a vision of formation. That is a daunting thought. But there are other obstacles to this type of visioning as well. Let me list a few of them.
- A Rejection of “false goals”: political revolution, state instead of kingdom, utopia instead of redemption, comfort instead of sacrifice.
- A Recognition of “false motives”: peoples approval makes me feel good, lake of conflict means things are going well, saying unpopular things will lead to negative, not positive, consequences
More on this later, but as we consider what it means to be the people of God and bring the kingdom of God, we have to be willing to call everything in to question.
But that is easier than it sounds.