SAN FRANCISCO (BP)–Leadership is the critical issue facing the church of the 21st century, a seminary president told collegiate ministry leaders gathered at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary for a series of planning initiatives July 23-24.
“You don’t see much happening in Scripture apart from God using people, as imperfect as they are, to lead others,” Crews noted. “Any ministry that is attempted for God deserves effective leadership.”
Crews said his observations of churches over the past 15 years he has served as president of the Mill Valley, Calif., seminary confirms his commitment to the school’s mission of “shaping effective leaders” for churches and ministry organizations.
“We can’t play church,” he said. “What the rest of the world will become in terms of cultural realities starts right here [on the West Coast]. We need to do all we can to get people involved in ministry and begin to understand what it means to lead people if we are going to reach the world for Christ.”
Citing the story of the Old Testament prophet Nehemiah, Crews said there are three hallmarks of good Christian leadership:
— Listening. “If we’re going to find out what God wants, we’re going to have to listen. Too many of us want to move ahead before we listen to God.”
– Feeling. “I don’t know that God ever gives us a vision until it’s really on our hearts. You’ve got to feel something and sometimes that takes time.”
— Moving. “The first thing Nehemiah did was to pray, to concentrate on the attributes of God and get a full picture of how big God was. We usually start in prayer by focusing on how big our problems are. But Nehemiah claimed the promises of God.”
Crews rejected the notion of leadership as seeking a position or telling people what to do. He outlined four components of leadership:
— The essence of leadership is influence. “It’s not a position but a principle that works in the lives of people.”
— The power of influence is vision. “People will only be led by someone who helps them see where to go and what God wants done.”
— The object of vision is change. “The reason you paint a picture of tomorrow is because today isn’t good enough. You don’t need a leader if all you’re going to do is drift.”
— The arena of change is the future. “You can’t always do a lot to change today, but you can make changes for the future.”