Equippers as Environmentalists: Re-Imagining Leadership in Today’s Western Church Part XV
After an introduction – Part I, Part II, Part III, and looking at the five mega shifts happening in our Western Culture – Part IV ,Part V, Part VI and Part VII, and Part VIII, now it is time to re-imagine leadership in this context. Part IX, Part X, Part XI, Part XII, Part XIII and Part XIV starts the re-imaginging process and this post continues it.
The Heart Revealer [Prophet] seeks to cultivate a challenging environment where people are called to walk with God and live in light of the coming eschaton. Heart revealers – through their example and fire in the hearts – have a contagious way of helping people commune with the Holy Spirit and walk in solidarity with the poor and the oppressed. They help people move from a politics of exploitation and oppression to one of justice and compassion. They help the community see how Jesus subverted the world’s system and suffered for it, and so just like their leader suffered, they have a willingness to suffer.
Some prophets in our community encourage us to consider our ecological footprints and how our consumption affects other people in the world. They remind us through the way they live. Some in our community choose to become vegetarians because they are standing in solidarity with the poor who sometimes don’t have bread to eat and realize that the amount of grain it takes to fatten up an animal that we consume could have been used instead for those who don’t have anything to eat. So every time we enjoy a meal together, I am reminded of the poor. Now close to half our canvas group is vegetarians.
A master planner’s approach would be to start a big program and then embark on a fundraiser to do something good, like feed the hungry. And while this is commendable in some ways, master planners rarely call for people in their churches to consider lifestyle changes. People feel good about themselves because they have given to charity. But, in the process, they have kept a safe distance from the harsh realities that many people in the world face. An environmentalist approach would be to connect those who are without with those who have much so that they become friends. As a result, they are moved by different motives to different kinds of action.
Last year, our canvas group pitched in to fly to pastors from Kenya to Los Angeles and we created space for them to meaningfully interact with our entire congregation in personal ways. As a result, the heart of our congregation was changed. Now when we take up an offering for the orphans in Kenya, people don’t give up a guilt offering or think about a TV ad with starving kids. They think about brothers in Christ who they know, touched, and listen to. Heart Revealers who live as environmentalists create challenging environments, where they allow the Holy Spirit to challenge people by the way they live.
We will cover the Story Teller [Evangelist] in the next post in this series.