admin, Author at Leadership Foundations

In case you missed this week’s Town Hall

Thanks to all who joined the August 5th Town Hall. Be sure to look out for weekly invitations to upcoming Town Hall meetings. You can register now here for next week’s Town Hall on August 12. As always, feel free to share with your network.

We have included the Town Hall recording below as well as each of the previous weekly Town Halls.

August 5 Town Hall featuring:

– Urban ministry legend Ray Bakke

-Johnny Hughes from Indian Ministries Leadership Foundations


PREVIOUS TOWN HALLS:

July 29 Town Hall featuring:

-Dan Cardinali on “Trust In Civil Society”

-Ben Sand from The Contingent in Portland, OR

July 22 Town Hall featuring:

-Pastor Tyrone Stevenson, Senior Pastor at Hope City Church in Brooklyn, NY

-Sam Rajshekhar, Director of the YuvaLok Leadership Foundation in Bangalore, India 

July 15 Town Hall featuring:

Rev. Adam Taylor, Executive Director of  Sojourners

-Bobby Arias and Blinky Rodriguez from Champions In Services of San Fernando Valley and Greater Los Angeles on the work they are doing for their city

July 8 Town Hall:

-Pancho Argüelles, Executive Director of  Living Hope Wheelchair Association shared his work and thoughts on community and intentional solidarity.

-Joel Furrow from leads The Root Cellar, Leadership Foundation of Lewiston joined us from Maine to talk about the great work they are doing to meet the needs of their city.

July 24 Town Hall featuring:

-Dave Hillis and Cornelius Williams in conversation about authentic community

-Stephanie Summers, CEO of The Center for Public Justice.

-Wil McCall, President of Dallas Leadership Foundation

-Eric Geary sharing updated data about the activation of our network to respond to the needs of their cities

June 17 Town Hall featuring:

-Anne Snyder , Editor in Chief of Comment Magazine in conversation with co-hosts Cornelius Williams and Dave Hillis

-De la Harpe le Roux from Towers of Hope Leadership Foundation on the work they are doing in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

June 10 Town Hall featuring:

-Tod Bolsinger from Fuller Theological Seminary on resilient leadership during crisis

-Torrey Bates, Executive Director of For The Kingdom Camp out of Memphis Leadership Foundation on the work he and his team have done to serve 1,000 meals per week.

Resources Shared:

-Tod’s E-Book: Leadership For A Time Of Pandemic

-Leadership Foundations blog post by Dave Hillis: What Can We Do Together?

-Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation Statement: What We Have In Common

Independent Sector: PPP Reform Bill details​

Whitworth Ministry Summit

June 3 Town Hall featuring:

-Ambassador Tony Hall on hunger and food justice

-Mario Matos sharing the work Singergia Leadership Foundaiton is doing in Santo Domingo

-David Hawn of Urban Ventures with an update from Minneapolis

May 27 Town Hall featuring:

-Maria Orozco from The Bridgespan Group diving into strategies and tactics to help with nonprofit scenario planning efforts

-Lee Kricher from Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation sharing the work they are doing to feed the vulnerable.

-Cornelius William from Resurgence: The Leadership Foundation of Atlanta shared an appreciation for partner Whitworth University on behalf of the LF network.


Click here to view the recording. Make sure to check out “Making Sense of Uncertainty: Nonprofit Scenario Planning in the COVID-19 Pandemic” from Bridgespan and the Scenario Planning Tool Maria shared.

May 20 Town Hall featuring:

-Jon Eisele from Deloitte LLP on strategic planning

-Chris Martin from Knoxville Leadership Foundation on the incredible work being done in Tennessee.

-Eric Geary with an energizing update on the LF COVID-19 Activation Fund

May 13 Town Hall featuring:

– Dr. William Storrar on leadership during the current normal of the COVID-19 crisis and what he believes is a profound opportunity for leaders to reimagine a post-pandemic future

– Jay Schindler from Miami Valley Leadership Foundation updating us on what is happening in Dayton, OH and how MVLF is responding.

-And an update on the LF COVID-19 Activation Fund and funding opportunity in partnership with Whitworth University

May 6 Town Hall featuring:
– A Funding Opportunity for Local Leadership Foundations in partnership with Whitworth University
– Lisa Lampman and Bianca Singleton updating us on the response from the LF Mentoring network
– Lina Thompson, Senior Pastor at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church

April 29 Town Hall featuring:
– Doug Holladay, Founder & CEO, PathNorth
– Wilna De Beer, Tshwane Leadership Foundation, Pretoria, South Africa
– Leadership Foundations COVID-19 Campaign

April 22 Town Hall featuring:
– Rev. Dr. Terry McGonigal​, Director of the Office of Church Engagement, Whitworth University
– Larry Lloyd, Memphis Leadership Foundation
– Leadership Foundations Impact Analysis Results

April 15 Town Hall featuring:
– Noel Castellanos​, Sr Innovation Fellow​, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center
– Rudy Carrasco​, Program Director​, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust
– Sam Skillern, Salem Leadership Foundation, Salem, OR
– Eric Geary, Lexington Leadership Foundation, Lexington, KY

April 8 Town Hall featuring:
– Dale Irvin, Sr Innovation Fellow​, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center
– Lisa Slayton, Sr Innovation Fellow, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center
– Randy White​, The Center for Community Transformation, Fresno, CA

April 1 Town Hall featuring:
– Dan Cardinali, President & CEO, Independent Sector
– June Carrington, Beacons of Hope, New York City, NY
– Abhishek Gier, Catalyst Leadership Foundation, Delhi, India
– Nathaniel Price, Transform Scott County, Georgetown, KY

29
Jul

On Immigration, the Pandemic and Where Hope Resides

For many of our local Leadership Foundations, immigration is not simply an abstract issue.  


It is a shared story and first-hand experience etched into the lives and faces of real human beings – women, children, men – those who make the uncertain and often dangerous journey to a new land.  



Cities are Magnets…

They draw diverse peoples in search of safety, opportunity, and more. And yet, with COVID-19, many immigrant and refugee communities have found themselves increasingly isolated, overlooked, and often attacked.

In our most recent City as Playground podcast, Sam Rajshekhar of the YuvaLok Leadership Foundation describes how so many immigrants have experienced deep deprivation during the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangalore, India. He depicts a particular group of migrants—the Domari people—who have been marginalized for centuries in India and are now facing unprecedented levels of poverty and privation–creating a kind of hellish purgatory. 


Tragically, this story is not an uncommon one—but what I am struck most by in Sam’s description is how the heartbreak that he describes in gut-wrenching detail seems to clearly be a reflection of God’s own heartbreak. 


We Are All Sojourners


Throughout scripture, God reminds the Israelite people to care for the stranger, the sojourner, in an especially attentive way. Why? Because…

wait for it…

they too were once sojourners.

And Jesus doubles down on this message by becoming an immigrant himself–fleeing to Egypt as a tiny baby. And then he calls his followers to become immigrants as well – to leave everything to follow him.


 

Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.   

Luke 14: 25-27 (NRSV )


Real Hope – Where God’s Heart Resides


This is the source of our sustaining hope at Leadership Foundations in cities throughout the world – that God who incarnated God’s self in the person of Jesus, who became an immigrant and asks us to do the same, is ever present, ever personal, and always possible for those hardest pressed.    


As a supporter of Leadership Foundations, I invite you to continue to hold immigrant peoples throughout the world in your prayers. And know that your support continues to meet the tangible needs of such people.  


In Bangalore, the YuvaLok Leadership Foundation has created a broad coalition of faith-based and secular organizations to meet immigrant needs. And Leadership Foundations, with our unique charism of finding common ground for the common good, is uniquely positioned to meet such needs.  

Please, join us in this work. 



Equity Means Ownership…

Racial Equity and the City as Playground

Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.'”

Nehemiah 2:17

For Juneteenth this year, I was in downtown Atlanta with my church and a group of other churches where we marched for racial justice in our city. While my heart breaks for the many places where justice does not yet exist as a reality for people of my skin tone, my heart is full for the way that we were leading the way in the march for justice.


It was also a great chance for me to reflect on my own leadership journey, what has led me to where I am serving as president for the Resurgence Leadership Foundation, and where we are at this moment in time in Atlanta and in the world.


As a child, I grew up in Louisiana and migrated to Tacoma, Washington—like many black families in the ‘70s, we were looking for opportunity and our parents worked hard to give us the best shot they could. Here I met some remarkable leaders who I had the great privilege to be shaped by– Dave Hillis, as my Young Life leader, John Bratholm as my basketball coach, and Wendell Phillips, the bus driver for Bethesda Baptist Church on the East side who picked me up– someone who introduced me to the power of the Gospel—it was these men that saw something in me and wanted to invest in me.


How powerful it was in my life to be pursued by these people who saw in me what I couldn’t, who saw potential where I didn’t…


In the early ’80s in Tacoma I didn’t see a lot of people like me – especially in leadership. I’m 6’3”, black, male, cisgendered. Few leaders looked like me. But a gift given early on in my leadership journey was ownership—not a lot of black folks were owners of anything in Tacoma in the ‘80s.

I did, however, get to engage with a great black leader, Tom Skinner, and see what it looked like to be a leader, black, and proud. This informed my own my work—as a youth leader, and now as a local Leadership Foundation president.


About Tom Skinner


Hope and Pain, side-by-side


Right now in Atlanta, there’s a lot going on currently, especially in light of the events that have taken place recently with Rayshard Brooks being shot and killed a few weeks ago. It’s really disheartening – how old this stuff is, and how it didn’t need to happen.


But at the same time, there’s so much here that gives me strength—this is the city of Tyler Perry after all. Keisha Lance Bottoms, a black woman, is our remarkably talented mayor. I remember first coming to Atlanta and saying to myself, “there’s people that look like me that run stuff here!”


This is our tension-filled space in a place like Atlanta—so much hope, but so much work still to do.

The Broken Down Fence


The Covid-19 Pandemic is providing a remarkable opportunity for our world. There are no distractions – we have no sports to distract us.


The pandemic has slowed us down so much that we finally have to deal with what’s in front of us. Many who’ve had their eyes closed, have been forced to open them for the first time to things they would rather ignore –the reality of racial inequity. It’s nothing new, but now they see it.


Even the tall fences—both real and imagined—that people have built around their houses and lives, have been broken down – that is a good thing. With the fence gone, now we have to look at one another.


Equity Means Ownership


What Leadership Foundations offers is ownership – At LF we are all owners, not employees – we own our organizations, we encourage ownership throughout our cities, and we voluntarily opt in to a common way of engaging our city through the wheel of change. You don’t have to abdicate your authority or equity to be in leadership.

That’s why I’m so excited that 55% of local Leadership Foundations are led by people of color. That’s compared to the US nonprofit sector having fewer than 20% of its organizations led by people of color. As a Senior Innovation Fellow with LF, I’m excited for the work ahead of us of strengthening this pipeline of leaders of color to lead in cities throughout the world.


Wakanda—when the invisible becomes visible


Where do we find hope right now? The closing scene of Black Panther is an inspiring image of what this looks like:

When the Invisible becomes Visible

Let’s set the scene: T’Challa (Black Panther) and his sister are in Oakland, California, with some young brothers playing ball on a playground. His sister thought they were headed to the ritzy part of the state and were going to Coachella.


“No,” T’Challa says—”here….“…And we own that building, and that one and that one. This will be our first Wakanda International Outreach Center…”


But here’s the kicker – the technology from Wakanda comes down on the court and the boys start running around it.  


It’s that idea of the invisible becoming visible, on the playground—the idea that—at Leadership Foundations we truly believe this—Wakanda has always been there.


At LF, this is what we’re about. We want to make sure that what was invisible shows up and becomes visible in those places that don’t ordinarily see it—in places that deserve it just like everywhere else.


Cornelius Williams, Jr. is the Founder and president of the Resurgence Leadership Foundation, based in Atlanta, Georgia. He grew up in Tacoma, Washington, attended Lincoln High School, led Young Life urban work in Portland, Oregon, and now leads Resurgence in its work to meet leaders where they are at and build tailored solutions enabling them to make a lasting impact in the communities they serve. Cornelius also serves as a Senior Innovation Fellow for Leadership Foundations’ Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center.


Our city is hurting,

but there’s hope…


A reflection from David Hawn, CEO of the Leadership Foundation of Minneapolis, Urban Ventures.

Dear friends and supporters: What an amazing group of compassionate people you are!

Tuesday, thanks to donations from the Timberwolves/Lynx, Hy-Vee, Matter (a global nonprofit organization based in St. Louis Park), and all of you, we distributed several tons of food and essential items in one burst––much more than I could have ever dreamed possible a mere two weeks ago.

Crisis support has been essential while local markets were closed. This week, however, some small business owners are trying to re-open their shops.  Therefore, our focus must now shift away from flooding our neighborhood with free items, towards spurring small business recovery, stimulating spending by neighborhood families, and reviving the local economy.

If you have not seen it already, I invite you to read this Star Tribune Article that outlines our approach.


To summarize, starting today, Urban Ventures is:

  • Immediately providing a $5,000, no-strings-attached grant to 140 small businesses in close proximity to our campus; this incredible gift is made possible by a generous anonymous donor.  While this won’t eliminate all the needs of these small business owners, it will go a long way toward helping a large number of them quickly get their businesses re-opened.

  • Partnering with small businesses to purchase large blocks of gift cards to their stores that we will then distribute to local families; a nice win-win transaction.  We will discontinue our free food and product distribution center as this program rolls out over the coming weeks.

This strategy provides tangible and immediate assistance to our community. It also allows us an opportunity to deepen longstanding relationships and form new ones. As we deliver this assistance, we are listening closely to the needs of business owners, then matching groups of skilled volunteers to support specific requests on a case-by-case basis. We are also referring owners with more substantial needs to other governmental and private funding sources.

Urban Ventures is leading recovery efforts on Lake Street with a focus on the long-term. Our big goal–to prepare and send every child in our neighborhood to college or some form of postsecondary education–remains unchanged. But right now, Lake Street’s small business owners need us. And by “us” I mean YOU.

I am so grateful for you and all you are giving in this season,


Dave Hawn
President & CEO
Urban Ventures


What Can We Do, Together?

Our hearts break and our souls are wrenched over the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We also acknowledge that they join a long list of others, some of whose names we don’t even know, spread throughout the world. The horrific violence that occurred in South Minneapolis at the doorstep of our local Leadership Foundation, Urban Ventures, last week raises the question yet again: What can we do to help?

It is everyone’s responsibility to confront racism, in our own hearts and in the words and actions of others. There is no future flourishing of people and cities apart from this honest encounter with ourselves. However, and at an even deeper level, the answer lies less in what any one person can do alone than what can collectively be done together. To know relationships is to know change. This is the path forward for Leadership Foundations.

This starts with how we approach the issues that lead to social problems. Too often we approach these complex issues with solutions from an outside-in perspective.  Those who are removed, who study the issue, prescribing solutions that, while well meaning, often miss the mark.

The answer, we believe, lies in being in relationship with one another, to committing to people and places for the long haul. The strength of Leadership Foundations is its diverse network of leaders on the ground in over 40 cities, who have been committed to this for the last 40 years and will continue to do so moving forward, in times of crisis and times of calm. Those relationships—this bedrock of social capital—are what have enabled local Leadership Foundations to jump into action and be effective early in the pandemic and during the past week, standing arm in arm with their neighbors who are angry and feel helpless.

Our experience teaches us that in every community there are those who understand the issues they and their neighbors face far better than anyone on the outside. One of our primary functions at Leadership Foundations is to elevate and connect these potential and emergent leaders; to build a common ground that drives deeper insight into our problems and is able to discern what it takes to solve them. We know and have seen that through collaboration and collective action we can fashion solutions that actually work.

An example of this can be found in Minneapolis where the Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation works alongside 50+ local partners to address opportunity gaps in academics, nutrition, physical activity, parenting resources, and more—all with the overarching goal to prepare and send every youth in the South Minneapolis neighborhood to college or postsecondary education.

Urban Ventures is now in the middle of the perfect storm: buffeted by the COVID-19 pandemic on one side and the senseless killing of Mr. Floyd that resulted in over 120 local businesses being burned down on the other side. As Urban Ventures swims in this overwhelming tide of sorrow and suffering,  they are doing what they have always done for the last 25 years: working in, with and through relationships to provide food, rent, mortgage assistance, and  support to small businesses just to name a few. It is concrete action that wears a relational overcoat.

Our cities are living, breathing organisms that reflect and manifest our collective joys, sorrows, and hopes. And, while cities continue to offer real signs of hope, we too often continue to see them as battlegrounds, with the zero-sum game mentality that this encourages – what one side gains the other surrenders. But if we can begin to regard our cities more as playgrounds, we can see there is more abundance than scarcity. Through collaboration and collective action community centers once abandoned are reborn, parks once derelict and dangerous are now green and full of families, and our streets are places of peace and good will.

There is no single answer that will solve the long history of racialized violence represented in George Floyd’s death, and the similar pain that we are experiencing in our cities all over the world. What any answer will be characterized by, however, is the courage to walk down two paths paved by relationship: coming to grips with our personal complicity and the collective commitment to work with others.

It will determine whether our cities are battlegrounds or playgrounds.


COVID-19 Town Hall Meetings

In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Leadership Foundations began holding weekly Town Hall Meetings spotlighting relevant experts, theological responses to the crisis, and the real-time responses of the network. In case you have missed them or want to rewatch, you can find the recordings below.

April 1 Town Hall featuring:

  • Dan Cardinali, President & CEO, Independent Sector
  • June Carrington, Beacons of Hope, New York City, NY
  • Abhishek Gier, Catalyst Leadership Foundation, Delhi, India
  • Nathaniel Price, Transform Scott County, Georgetown, KY

April 8 Town Hall featuring:

  • Dale Irvin, Sr Innovation Fellow​, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center
  • Lisa Slayton, Sr Innovation Fellow, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center
  • Randy White​, The Center for Community Transformation, Fresno, CA

April 15 Town Hall featuring:

  • Noel Castellanos​, Sr Innovation Fellow​, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center
  • Rudy Carrasco​, Program Director​, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust ​
  • Sam Skillern, Salem Leadership Foundation, Salem, OR
  • Eric Geary, Lexington Leadership Foundation, Lexington, KY

April 22 Town Hall featuring:

  • Rev. Dr. Terry McGonigal​, Director of the Office of Church Engagement, Whitworth University
  • Larry Lloyd, Memphis Leadership Foundation
  • Leadership Foundations Impact Analysis Results

April 29 Town Hall featuring:

  • Doug Holladay, Founder & CEO, PathNorth
  • Wilna De Beer, Tshwane Leadership Foundation, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Leadership Foundations COVID-19 Campaign

May 6 Town Hall featuring:

  • A Funding Opportunity for Local Leadership Foundations in partnership with Whitworth University
  • Lisa Lampman and Bianca Singleton updating us on the response from the LF Mentoring network
  • Lina Thompson, Senior Pastor at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church
Child from Lexington
27
Apr

Serving Our City in Crisis

Like so many others, we could have never imagined what the beginning of 2020 would hold for our world and nation. We at Lexington Leadership Foundation (LLF) have been challenged with the question,

“How do we serve our city, while still adhering to the guidelines set in place for our community’s safety?”

What does LLF’s role for the city look like during this time? Our team has been collaborating on the best ways to serve our neighbors. We suspended our regular in-person programming and adjusted our work to address the pressing needs of people in our community and shine Christ’s love and light.
Gathering meals for distribution throughout Lexington
We are working with our partners to serve hundreds of meals to children and families- averaging 136 meals distributed per day, along with a smile and a friendly face. We will continue to do this as long as we are able. Our staff is also checking in on our students, their families, volunteers, and partners to identify their needs and connecting them to resources. A few of our students didn’t have a computer at home, so we helped get them one to ensure the kids could do their schoolwork. One of our bi-lingual team members is taking on the role of Resource Coordinator, working by phone to provide emotional support during an overwhelming time and help families access available resources.
We don’t know how long life will operate like this, but we do know that God is good and in control. In the midst of these uncertain times, we continue to lean into our call to serve Lexington and the people who call it home.
dedicated Lexington Volunteers
Dedicated volunteers of Lexington LF distributing supplies and loving neighbors
thank you card
27
Apr

Thank You!

Last month, we asked you to contact your legislator to advocate for support to non-profits during stimulus act negotiations.

Many of you took action by contacting your legislators.  Thank you! As a result of our collective action, Independent Sector recently shared that…
  • Nonprofit needs are included for the first time in all emergency relief packages related to COVID-19
  • All taxpayers can claim the charitable deduction for the first time in 34 years
  • Critical federal programs received additional funds to meet growing needs
  • and Initial federal funding is available to begin establishing systems to help voters safely participate in 2020 elections   
Thank you for helping to make this progress possible and for your support of Local Leadership Foundations and partners work on the ground in communities across the world!
india streets
1
Apr

Leadership Foundations is taking the lead on the COVID-19 crisis

LEADERSHIP IS STEPPING INTO THE GAP

 

The global crisis that we now find ourselves in, with the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, is placing unimaginable stress on vulnerable communities and those experiencing poverty. As millions are on lockdown and businesses are closing, unemployment is spiking. Paying rent and utilities, getting food and finding basics like diapers is tougher than ever before.

 

Yet during such a time of uncertainty and crisis, people are together to support one another in new and remarkable ways.

 

Local Leadership Foundations throughout the world are stepping up and taking the lead in helping demonstrate the COVID-19 crisis as a  our collective strength.

 

170,000 volunteers have offered to help UK fight COVID-19 | World ...

 

In Georgetown, Kentucky, the local Leadership Foundation, Transform Scott County is coordinating its volunteer response on behalf of the entire county. In conjunction with local government, Transform Scott County is staffing the local helpline.   

 

In conjunction with church partners, they are managing phone lines every day Monday-Friday. Thanks to their efforts, the elderly and people who are immunocompromised are able to get essential medicine and food, that they’d otherwise have to go without.  We then refer the request to sheriff deputies for delivery or to our local food bank for people who cannot purchase food.

 

Delhi Master Plans fail to crack slum resettlement puzzle - delhi ...

 

RIOTS ON TOP OF THE VIRUS

 

In Delhi, India, the local leadership Foundation, Catalyst, is serving in an extremely tense environment — many have recently lost their homes to riots, migrant farm workers have been pushed out of their humble dwellings, and the city is under a complete lock-down.

 

Catalyst has been given special permission and is one of the only groups in the entire city that can leave their houses to provide services. Every day, their staff work tirelessly to try to meet the emergency needs of the most vulnerable and destitute on the streets of Delhi.

 

Keep Us, our city, our country and the whole world in your prayers.”

says Catalyst president, Abhishek Gier.

 

These are just a few examples of the heroic ways in which Leadership Foundations are stepping up amidst this global crisis on behalf of vulnerable people in cities throughout the world.

 

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

 

Consider making a special gift today to Leadership Foundations to ensure that our network can continue to be as responsive to the growing and long term needs as we seek to not only meet emergency need, but to rebuild and rehabilitate these communities.

 

 

 

26
Mar

Nonreactive Leadership

or, Leadership in a Time of Coronavirus

a reflection by President Dave Hillis

 

It is in times like we find ourselves in today–with the COVID-19 pandemic on everyone’s mind–that many would say to Leadership Foundations,

 

“Cities as playgrounds?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

They sure look more like

battlegrounds these days to me.”

 

With social distancing potentially making us see our neighbors as our enemies, and shelter in place orders breeding distrust and fear, it seems like our cities are becoming more like battlegrounds.

 

Counterintuitively, I believe that it is in times like these where this central metaphor of LF, Cities as Playgrounds, holds its greatest promise. In fact, this image of Cities as Playgrounds can remind us all of why going through a trauma like what we’re going through is even worthwhile.

 

So how do we live in a time of crisis like today? How do we lead?

 

I ultimately believe a time like this calls us to live and lead out of a place of freedom. In his second letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul simply says, “where the Spirit of God is, there is also freedom.” The movement of God is always drawing us toward a place of freedom- both interior and exterior freedom.

 

And by definition, being free, as a leader, means to engage in the world in a way that is non-reactive.

 

So here are three practical realities in which I believe non-reactive leadership can be lived out in our day-to-day lives:

 

1. Non-reactive Leadership is Characterized by a Non-Anxious Presence

 

You know leaders and you know that place in yourself that is so anxious to please the crowd in front of you, that place so eager for

the approval of others.

 

Leaders who are able to practice “non-anxious presence” recognize that they don’t require the approval of others.

 

They are clearly aware that their ultimate value comes from a source much deeper and unshakable–a source that is much different than the whims of the crowd.

 

 

 

2. Non-reactive Leadership Pivots From the Practice of Being Holy

 

A word that often holds too much religious baggage, the word “Holy” simply points to its relative with a ‘W’, “Whole.

 

When we see things as a whole, we see how they are connected to one another.

 

This then becomes our working assumption in leadership–that ALL things are connected. But the trick is, you can only see this interconnectedness from a nonreactive place.

 

 

 

 

3. Non-reactive Leadership Leads to an Eschatological – not Apocalyptic – Way of Seeing

 

Trappist monk Thomas Merton was known to make this distinction. When we see with Apocalyptic eyes, we are seeing in a way that is in response to what is right in front of us–in other words, reactively, out of fear for what we think the future holds.

 

When we see with Eschatological Eyes, we see with the eyes of hope. This doesn’t paper over the harsh realities we’re experiencing in our day-to-day lives, on our city streets or in our quarantined communities. But nonetheless we can imagine and envision hope in a way that brings our reality into sharper focus–that can envision the fullness of creation being within our reach.

 

 

It is in this place of non-reactivity, of freedom, that all of us can continue to see our communities as places of God’s deep hope and love. Even in times of crisis, God’s promise of our cities as playgrounds is there for us to live into.