conviction, collaboration and calling: the piece-parts of a 21st century leader

leadership is changing. and this is a very, very good thing.

the era of the autocratic, top-down leader is gone. a new kind of leader — one who leads without power — is on the rise.

while it’s fantastic to see this new approach to leadership gaining ground in the world of business, it’s sad to me that the church — the place where this jesus-y style of leadership should have been in place all along — is behind.

i’ve just finished a year with my second youth ministry coaching program cohort. and as i wrote ‘growth affirmation and challenge’ sheets for each of the participants, naming the amazing transformation i’ve seen in each of their lives this past year, i was once again struck by how many churches are riddled with lousy leadership. during one of my 1-on-1 coaching sessions with a participant, on the last day, we were talking about leadership, and i surprised myself when the subject of this post came out of my mouth (all starting with the same letter — how rick warren of me!). i said,

great leaders are anchored by three things: conviction, collaboration, and calling.

conviction isn’t about being the sole vision castor.
it’s not about forcing an agenda onto everyone.
it’s not about being the heavy.

conviction is about being a culture evangelist and mission curator.

conviction is about ruthlessly protecting the values, and not being swayed by attractive ideas (financially beneficial, numerical growth beneficial, keeping the peace, pleasing the powerful) that erode the values.

collaboration isn’t about forced fun.
it’s not about tokenism.
and it doesn’t mean democracy.

collaboration is about being a uniqueness dj. collaboration is about creating space and processes and an ecosystem the values meaningful input, and offers active participation at every level.

and calling. calling isn’t about filling seats.
it’s not about manipulation.
it’s not about isolation.

calling is about being a storytelling host, a champion of hope, and a trust guard.

calling is about living into who you were made to be. it’s the self-actualized leader, humble and open, rooted in a spiritual sense of urgency, committed to the mission and unwavering in a sense of movement. it’s about living this, and calling others to this greater purpose.

conviction, collaboration, and calling. how are you living them out this week?

3 thoughts on “conviction, collaboration and calling: the piece-parts of a 21st century leader”

  1. I have enjoyed these posts on leadership.

    And, the church is behind.

    I wanna practice this in my life. Here’s my question:
    What do you do when you want to lead without power but someone else, or others, still want to lead with power (the old way) and fight to gain it within the circle?

    Would love to hear some thoughts or a post about that.

  2. I agree with the breakdown (three C’s) of leadership. I have experienced the top down appoach in church and business. I have experience the Jesus experience in the Church I grew up in. As a teacher and wrestling coach I have found that I get so much more leading from the example you explained than being the heavey. Love and humility with a confident knowledge of what your teaching a great combanation. Thanks for your thougts!

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