Dr. Phil: As we together embark on another year it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the “Why” of our various activities and involvements. More than even the “What,” the “Why” will determine our priorities and direction for our lives and specifically for the coming year.
While this is a helpful exercise personally, it is also helpful (and necessary) for us as a mission organization to reflect on this vital question. As a reader and supporter, your perception of ICM is likely formed by what you see us doing, activities such as writing materials, teaching leaders, coaching teams and so on. But while this answers the “What,” it does not necessarily reveal the “Why.”
Let me come at the Why question from a different angle. Have you ever suffered under a leader, be it at work or in the church, who obviously cared more about their reputation and hanging on to their influence and power than empowering those around them? These are leaders who need their ego stroked and think that leading others is all about what they can get out of it. Or if we are more charitable, they may just be incompetent and not have a clue to the damage they are causing.
Well, if you are like most of us you don’t have to think long to come up with names and faces. . . . and will likely have the emotional scars to prove it. The good news (and the bad news!) is that you are not alone. Power driven, top-down leaders are endemic in most cultures and countries, since we are all part of a fallen world (a nicer way of saying sin). Jesus came not only to save us from our sin, but transform us to lead as he did – the One who was the Messiah and yet knelt down to serve others.
I think we would all agree that Jesus had real authority, but this was gained through sacrifice and service, not raw power and position. Instead of using the authority and influence for their own benefit, real leaders use this to help others move forward and succeed. They are more focused on the needs of others and the organization, using others to fulfill their vision. Leading should not be about “us” but about “others.” Of course, the ultimate expression of Jesus’ leadership was evidenced by hanging on a cross – interestingly, the very thing we are asked to take up daily.
So while ICM is engaged in “teaching,” “mentoring,” “coaching,” etc., the goal of all we do is about this fundamental leadership transformation. This is the Why of what we do. All of our activities as a ministry are focussed on helping leaders lead the way that Jesus led. The result of this is that those in their churches or organizations are encouraged to use their gifts and fulfill the dreams that God has given them, regardless how big or small they may be. It is about developing others.
So Why do we do What we do? Bottom line is so that a fundamental change occurs in the leader’s heart resulting in the formation of a servant leader who does not abuse those they serve (whatever spiritual term may be used to describe it). Rather, they follow Jesus’ example and in so doing transform their organizations, churches, and denominations. While not everyone is willing to follow Jesus model, after nearly three decades we are encouraged to see the results of our efforts. Thank you for standing with us as we continue to see the lives of leaders transformed into those servant leaders we are all called to be.