This weekend I read In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Henri J.M. Nouwen. This book can be read in less than an hour and is convicting and powerful. I highly recommend it.
Nouwen offers a crucial reminder for our Indigitous network that as digital missionaries we must never fall in love with our mission over the One who has given us our mission.
The central question is, are the leaders of the future truly men and women of God, people with an ardent desire to dwell in God’s presence, to listen to God’s voice, to look at God’s beauty, to touch God’s incarnate Word, and to taste fully God’s infinite goodness? (Nouwen 43)
So often Christian leaders, myself included, get tempted by power and success, and abandon a life of prayerful dependence on God’s Spirit. As digital missionaries, we might not even be seen as any different from our secular peers, enamored by the latest tech, gadgets, digital marketing strategies, and business models as we seek to bring the Gospel to a broken world using digital strategies.
Nouwen graciously points out that the path of true discipleship is not a race to the top. It’s not about being the biggest, the brightest or the best.
But Jesus has a different vision of maturity: It is the ability and willingness to be led where you would rather not go…. The way of the Christian leader is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much, but the way of downward mobility ending on the cross. (Nouwen 81)
Reading Nouwen’s book gave me pause to reflect on the importance of leading from and through my weakness, fully dependent on God’s Spirit dwelling in me, not merely trusting in the lastest tricks, trends and tools. Jesus’ model of a leadership that embraced downward mobility is radically counter-cultural.
Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2)
- Pray about and consider: How can you lead from a place of downward mobility?