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The Hard Messy Work...

This morning, I drove down the curvy leaf covered roads to Empire so I could vote. As I was driving, I began to think about leadership in this changing world. This election process has reminded me just how much the world has changed and how leaders need to change in order to faithfully lead. It’s so easy to get caught up in the blame game or pointing out weaknesses in other leaders in order to “get more followers.” But as I look at the life of Jesus, this is not the way that he lived, nor is it the way that I want to live.

Throughout the election season, I have been reading a book called Canoeing the Mountains with several other pastors from Northern Michigan. In short, author Tod Bolsinger argues that we are at a time in church history where our culture has changed so dramatically that the church does not know how to respond. The roadmap that the church used for the last several hundred years no longer seems to get us to where we want to go. Churches are getting emptier and emptier and many are even closing.

Bolsinger offers this definition of leadership in the face of a changing world and church: “Leadership is energizing a community of people toward their own transformation in order to accomplish a shared mission in the face of a changing world.” (42). If Bolsinger is right, and I think he is, then our willingness to be transformed has a direct impact on our community. If we are willing to be transformed, others might too long for transformation. If we say no to the deep transformation that God longs to do in our lives, then I wonder if we are not preventing God from fully using us in this world? Transformation begins with me. It begins with you. The only change and transformation we can control is what is going on inside of ourselves. We cannot force others to change.

I wonder today if you believe that you need to be transformed? Do you believe that you are a beloved child of God who God loves so much that God wants for you to be all that you are meant to be? Transformation is messy and often painful, but what can arise out of the messiness and pain is something so beautiful. I praise God for the transformation work that God has been doing in me. Will you join me in spending some time with God today and asking God how He wants to transform you and express his love for you deeper? Your transformation can have a huge impact on you, your family, your friends and the church. If you would like some help on this journey or some resources, please let myself or Pastor Jan know.

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