Context Staffing



The Future of Christian Leadership: Part 1


By: Justin Anderson

Part 1: The Changes

I believe that in meaningful ways, the future of Christian Leadership will not be like the past. This should not be a controversial take. If you haven't noticed, the world is changing rapidly and it is exerting pressure on the church and leadership in ways that we have never seen before.

If you push down on a table, the weakest parts of that table will break first. Without the added pressure, it’s impossible to know for sure what the weakest parts are, but when the pressure mounts, the cracks reveal themselves. Leadership is the thing that is breaking all across the country.

For the next blog series, I want to give us a vision of what the future of Christian leadership needs to look like. I recently gave a main session talk at the Acts29 National Conference on this topic but I only had 18 minutes, so I wasn’t able to really build out my thoughts. So I’ll take this space to expand those thoughts into a series of blogs.

The passage I used to frame my talk was 1 Corinthians 16:13–14, which says, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” This is probably the most common Men’s Retreat verse so you have likely had to hug a guy while this was read aloud. But I also think it hits on some really important leadership paradoxes that Christian leaders will need to embody in the coming years.

First, a little bit of linguistic work. In these two verses, there are five present imperative verbs, which imply ongoing action. They describe the way we have to be as leaders in a habitual way.

More specifically, I see two sets of verb pairs that exist in tension oriented around one big idea. Those pairs are (1) Be Watchful and Stand Firm in the Faith and (2) Be Strong and Do everything out of Love. Those two verb pairs are held in tension with one another and revolve around the central idea that Paul articulates as “Act like men”.

So over the next few weeks, I want to break these things down and see how together they shape the future of Christian leadership. For this week though, I just want to get you thinking about the ways in which you anticipate leadership to change. Maybe you disagree and think that leadership won’t change at all. I think you’re wrong, but I’d love to know why you think that. Now, to be clear, there are eternal principles of leadership that never change. I’m not suggesting that something like godliness or character is going to change. I hope that’s obvious.

What I do think will change is the way some of these leadership issues will play out and which virtues will be most necessary. Again, in leadership, all Christian virtues are necessary and none of them ever cease to be so. But different times do require different virtues to take center stage. So, how have you seen the requirements of leadership change in the last few years and how do you anticipate it to change in the coming years?