The powerful leader is powerful because she consistently and patiently carries the central vision of the organization.
The powerful leader holds firmly to those values that shape the identity of the organization she leads. She knows that strength resides in her ability to stay connected to the core values shared by the organization, while remaining open and flexible on the way those values are lived out.
The values to which the strong leader maintains connection need to be simple, few in number, and easily articulated by anyone.
When I think of the core values I hold for the church, I would articulate five.
I believe that:
1. God’s Spirit dwells everywhere.
7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
The Spirit of God dwells in every created human being and in all forms of life. We come into harmony with our destiny, and live more peaceably in creation, when we seek to be aware of and honour God’s presence in all of life and live in tune with the power of love.
Every person and every aspect of creation has the innate ability to be an instrument of divine communication. Therefore, powerful leaders will always start with listening to whatever is going on and whoever is speaking.
Listening takes time and attention; so a powerful leader is one who practices patience and is deeply attentive to what is going on in peoples’ lives and in the world.
2. All people deserve deep respect simply because they are created in the image of God.
Respect does not need to be earned. It is an inalienable human right due to all people regardless of their behaviour simply because they are human.
Jesus said, Love your enemies. (Matthew 5:44)
To love our enemies is to have no enemies.You cannot be enemy with someone towards whom you practice love.
When we love another person, we will always approach that person with respect, even when their behaviour does not seem to deserve respect. We will open our heart to that person. We are one with every person. Jesus came to demonstrate that the dividing lines we create are artificial.
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
The church exists to embody this oneness that Jesus made known.
When Jesus said the second great law is
You shall love your neighbour as yourself. (Mark 12:31)
He did not mean, as much as you love yourself, as if the first commandment was to love yourself and the second was to love your neighbour. Jesus meant we are to love our neighbour with the awareness that there is no separation between us and our neighbour. Our neighbour is our other self. We are one with all human beings. There is no separation. We are all created by the same God. We all bear the same Spirit.
As people of faith in the church, we will strive to keep our hearts open and to embrace all forms of life no matter how different or unfamiliar they may be. We will live gently on this earth in the awareness that God is always present.
Strong leadership never plays on divisions or seeks to foster the break down of human community; it always seeks to point to the inherent oneness of the human community.