The last few years, the idea of leadership has taken a beating. Whether it’s the critique of “elites” in our cultures or the overuse of the word leadership by various training and educational institutions. In many ways I agree with these concerns and it is why Asian Access does what it does in focusing on Christ, Character, and Servant Leadership.
The ongoing challenges of the past few months have crystallized the idea for me though that Leaders do Matter. The lack of leadership throughout these events (whether governmental or non-profit Christian), the deflecting of blame, hidden backstabs and the convoluted manner in which leaders tried to explain away their choices is disturbing.
In saying this, I am not just referring to the chaos in the U.S. recently. It is clearly not just an American issue.
Just look at Myanmar the last few weeks. The overthrow of the government by the military and the ongoing trauma that has inflicted on their nation is devastating. Take a look at what some of my colleagues are saying:
Things get more complicated now as Military released prisoners (over 20000). Our society has a fear of this type of people as they are to commit any crime... Some of them can be spies disguised as prisoners! There were fire broke out in several places, it is a man-made fire... Our family will begin night guard tonight... There are many night arrests by police in many places... We had almost no sleep last night . People were chasing intruders who invaded our block (neighborhood) last night. Please kindly pray... Thank you sir. We heard a news that internet service will be down starting from tomorrow! But we are in wait and see mode.
Finally, I was struck by the outcomes of the investigation of renowned Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias. The levels of abuse and subterfuge were astounding. It truly is embarrassing and yet a vivid portrait of our desperate need for a savior. And, it highlights the importance of good governance and accountability.
All of these remind me of the importance of Godly leadership. When I was doing my dissertation research I came across this phrase: “Leadership Matters". The GLOBE Study, where I found this phrase, went further to mention that “CEOs do matter— and they matter greatly.” 1 (2013, p. 345)
As Jesus told his disciples,
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” — Matthew 5:16
In all of these types of situations, it’s important for those of us as Christ-followers to both live like Jesus would want us to live, provide leadership that is above reproach, and do what is right in God’s eyes. Just read Titus 1 in the New Testament.
I was so proud of our former council of reference member Jon Wallace (who sadly just passed away) when he and a group of leaders kept after Willow Creek Community Church leadership following the challenge with their lead pastor Bill Hybels. They were exemplary in trying to address a critical issue handling the situation with wisdom, grace and truth.
I am also proud of the numerous colleagues, board members, partners and donors I serve with at Asian Access. Embarrassingly there are times where I fall short and they graciously come alongside me to speak the truth. While sometimes I have to admit, “Ouch, that hurt.” The vast majority of the time I am deeply grateful for the way they help me as a leader and follower of Jesus and strengthen the ministry of Asian Access. I am humbled and honored to serve with them!
Pray for us as equippers of Christ-like leaders to model and inspire this type of leadership. Why? Because Leadership Matters. It makes a difference in our world.
Rev. Joseph W. Handley, Jr., Ph.D.
President, Asian Access
1 House, Robert and Paul Hanges, Mansour Javidian, Peter Dorfmann and Mary Sulley du Luque. Strategic Leadership Across Cultures: The GLOBE Study of CEO Leadership Behavior and Effectiveness in 24 Countries. 2013, p. 345.
Photo credit: inset military vehicle: Thunder armoured personnel carrier of Myanmar Army(Wikimedia Commons)