In the midst of crisis, the Psalmist asks for help from God almighty, and then proclaims that through God, we will do
valiantly. Valiant is word that is not commonly used but describes action with boldness, courage, and determination. In the midst of crisis, great leaders understand that they must act decisively, empowered by the presence of God’s Spirit, for the sake of those they lead and for the sake of fulfilling the mission of God. During the COVID-19 season, our churches and pastors have been tested and pressured in ways that could not have been imagined even one year ago. Yet, our churches have not died, withered, or even retreated in the face of obstacles. Pastors and church leaders, led by the presence and the power of God’s Spirit, have declared that through God our church will do valiantly.
In this time of uncertainly, I believe God is calling us to valiant leadership. Valiant leadership is not simply being more assertive or more strategic. It is a radical surrender to the Spirit of God to accomplish that which God has called us to. It is boldly standing on the promises of God, following the ways of Jesus, and watching God’s Spirit lead us to “
greater things than we can ask or imagine”. Specifically, I believe there are three characteristics of valiant leadership that is needed today:
Valiant Leaders are
CONFIDENT: Confident comes from the Latin root words that literally means “Trusting with or trusting in”. Confidence is often mistaken for arrogance. Arrogant leaders point to themselves, their abilities, their activities as the reason for success. They are very prideful, and eventually, the charade is destroyed by the Holy Spirit, who opposes the proud. Healthy confident leaders, on the other hand, are humble but have a powerful faith (assurance and complete trust in the person and promises of God). They can move in confidence because of the source of their confidence is God almighty. They are not trying to get you to trust them because of their giftedness but because of their faith expressed through a loving dependence of the Creator of the universe. When you speak, do your listeners sense your deep faith in God?
Valiant Leaders are
COMPASSIONATE: Compassion means to “suffer with”. Jesus saw crowds around him and described them as “helpless and harassed”. His ability and desire to act on behalf of the crowd was based upon his love-shaped-empathy that allowed him to feel their pain. In describing leadership, The Rev. John Perkins said, “Leadership begins with identifying with the pain of those you are trying to lead”. In developing empathy, we are able to act decisively as we experience and share the pain and wounds of those around us. Scripture tells us that in Christ, we no longer view one another as the world instructs us, but through the eyes of Jesus. When you lead, are you sharing the burdens of those you led, or do you end up adding to theirs?
Valiant leaders are
CLEAR: Clarity is the ability to explain a plan or process for those who desire direction. When there is a crisis, every action and inaction is framed against the crisis. Depending on the context, the local civic leaders may be pushing to “re-open” churches (quotation marks because we were never closed) but depending on the degree of illness in their community and the vulnerability of your church to COVID-19, the church leadership may wish to continue to worship remotely. Whatever decisions that are made, need to be expressed clearly and explained with purpose. Clarity comes with a deep connection to God. Jesus, in the midst of his greatest conflicts, spent enormous amounts of time in prayer in order to speak clearly. Are your members hearing a clear message of the mission? What is your prayer life like?
Timely leadership in the midst of crisis is confident, compassionate, and clear. Throughout The River Conference, we are proclaiming:
Through God, we will do valiantly!!!