Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

15 Jan 2014

The Leadership Revival

Posted By

Just yesterday I came across a brief op-ed piece with that title (see here), written by New York Times columnist David Brooks. If you don’t yet follow Brooks’ work, you really should. His work is not only well-written and informed, but consistently fair. In any case, in this particular piece Brooks laments the quality of the leaders—not people, per se—entering public life and, in response, offers some advice meant to address this deficiency. How, in other words, can good people turn into better leaders or, as Brooks nicely puts it, “How [can these people] translate the poetry of high aspiration into the prose of effective governance?” His advice, I think, would work equally well were we to substitute “public official” or “politician” with “aspiring pastor” or “seminarian.” In fact, it’d be a useful exercise simply to reflect on each of Brooks’ points—there are only three—and consider what implications each may suggest for those of us who are pastors-in-training or who train them. Of course, if anything particularly resonates with you, please don’t hesitate to share it.

4 Responses

  1. I agree it was a good article and the advice would be helpful to any leader including pastors. I am curious, however, as to a healthy and appropriate way for a pastor or future pastor to “Go off and become a stranger in a strange land. Go off to some alien part of this country or the world. Immerse yourself in the habits and daily patterns of that existence and stay there long enough to get acculturated. Stay there long enough so that you forget the herd mentality of our partisan culture.”

  2. Jared Compton

    I thought about that one a bit too and wondered, e.g., if the same result could be achieved through short-term missions trips or even through a good bit of reading, e.g., about majority world Christianity or about Christians of the past. I’ve felt what he described after having done each of the things I’ve just noted.

  3. Doug

    To KG and Jared above: when I read that in Brooks’ column I thought about young pastors, or pastors-to-be, taking on ministry work in a place unlike where they grew up, and/or in a church unlike their previous experience (e.g., bigger, smaller, different demographics, different culture). But the value might come from extended time there, rather than a short-term mission. After professional experience with one employer for 20+ years, I moved to a different type of job in a different part of the country and gained new perspective. A young pastor might benefit from something similar early in ministry. Even better if the experience also allowed learning from someone experienced, either within the same congregation or from another congregation nearby. Yet, the Lord will lead his pastors where he wants them, for His purpose.