Leadership 8 – In the big wide world
3 min script for UCB
I have been looking at leadership in these short talks in the context of those who are followers of Jesus. However I hope that I haven’t give the impression that these skills of servant leadership are only relevant and appropriate to the church community. If I have given that impression let my try and correct that today.
I have spent a large chunk of my life establishing some independent schools, we have two in North London, one in Sri Lanka and one in Nakuru, Kenya. When people ask me what is their purpose, I answer that I am interested in affecting the thinking of young students, but also I want to produce tomorrow’s national and international leaders.
I hope you don’t think what I say next is too strange, but even if you do, I believe it to be so. If you really are a follower of Jesus, and you are walking with him then certain things will apply. First of all you are in touch with wisdom, I do not believe that wisdom comes from any other source but from God, he is the source of wisdom. Knowledge on the other hand can come from a variety of sources. If you are a follower of Jesus then you should have a world view that gives great credibility to any leadership role into which you enter. Followers of Jesus also have a clear perspective about the future, where it’s all going, why we are here and what is our human purpose is. You are also in touch with the ultimate law giver, ruler and therefore understand what it means to have a moral base. Scripture talks about our thinking producing who and what we are, and that can, should and does reflect into the wider culture locally, nationally and internationally.
I learned a lot of my leadership skills as a follower of Jesus rather than from management training, or other training schemes. But I have discovered that it is very easy to transfer those skills into what we sometimes call the secular world, although I don’t like the word secular, as I know that the Kingdom of God can be found in every area of life and do not like the false dichotomy of secular and spiritual. I have been able to use the leadership skills obtained as a follower of Jesus in social service, education and business to name but a few.
Just the other day I was listening to a discussion about an emerging economy and they were talking about how the country could be improved by business, by politics, and by new laws. But there was an element that was missing from the debate, there was no mention of how people think, the philosophy of a nation if you will. In the UK, whilst I would never want to call us or think of us as a Christian nation we do have a strong Christian heritage which can be seen in our laws and the way the country works. This heritage is, I believe, currently being rapidly squandered, but some of it is this is still there, which tends to make us generous and caring; and affect levels of honesty and corruption. If you look at national cultures in other parts of the world then you will see clear differences to the UK culture, due to the underlying philosophy, for some there is a lack of concern for others outside of their own country, some place a low value on human life and some have very corrupt systems. Now I am sure business, law, politics and education can all help those things if they are wrong, but ultimately you don’t really change things unless you change the thinking and the underlying philosophy.
As one American president once said, ‘if you educate an evil man who was stealing from the railway, it doesn’t change his actions it just makes him clever, so instead of stealing from the railway he steals the whole system’. What we often see as requiring a structural change actually needs a change of heart, or from my point of view, Jesus style leadership in all areas of life. So how about you, where do you lead?
Editor A Brookes
3 min Script for UCB