The book, Leading Decisively! Leading Faithfully! Reflections and Markers, is intended to serve as a multi-lingual, cross-cultural, and baccalaureate-level text on leading decisively and faithfully in Christian communities. It reflects convictions to which we as decisive and faithful leaders remain captive, as we live and lead as maturing disciples of Jesus Christ.
You may find this book beneficial as you lead within your faith community or even outside the structures of the church where you live and work. Techniques for leading are not offered, nor are easy steps outlined. Rather, a perspective is given and reflections are shared, along with a theological vision for leading others.
Summarized are the values, priorities, and principles that have guided the author in leading others in numerous countries and diverse assignments. Perhaps the “driving forces” outlined in the book can serve to motivate you in your leadership assignment.
As much as leaders want to be known as decisive, with our decision-making marked by firmness and our action characterized by certainty and conclusiveness, even more critical in leading others is a distinctively Christian quality and depth of communication. Caring for others is the mark of greatness, more so than decisiveness. Our testimony of faith in Jesus Christ must increasingly inform and transform the way we live in and lead a faith community, as that community is expressed in the home, on the job, in discipleship class, youth group, church board, local congregation, or seminary.
Three compelling convictions prod us as we explore our vocational calling to lead decisively, with a vision to serve: convictions about who we are as the people of God; what we are called to do in the mission of God; and how we live together as the family of God. These three convictions or cornerstones are common threads that grow stronger in the lives of servant leaders.
To lead decisively and to lead faithfully, we need to expand the three cornerstones into markers that guide our behavior as leaders. Indeed, they serve as boundaries and perimeters. For many of us, embracing these six markers will constitute change in how we approach the task of leading others.
If leaders are to assist “the led” to think and act Christianly, we must wholeheartedly embrace these decisive servant markers and major ideas around which this book is written:
The PASSION for leading decisively is grounded in a vision of ministry.
The IMPERATIVE in leading decisively is speaking to, not past, each other.
The GOAL of leading decisively is focused on effectively preparing the Body of Christ—the People of God—for mission and ministry.
The METHOD of leading decisively in accomplishing the vision includes mentoring, diligent board governance, missional planning, and a robust community.
The PAIN of leading decisively is experienced in the tension between good and godly people over vision, values, and traditions.
The EVIDENCE of leading decisively is reflected in the qualitative growth of the led, individually and collectively.
Fundamentally, leading decisively is grounded in biblical perspective and not in organizational skills. It means that the primary motivation of our actions is deeply theological. The Spirit of God within us enables us to make decisions grounded in our identity and life in Christ and our biblical worldview. Skills, of course, are needed. However, sharp skills without Christian motives easily lead to manipulation. The book explores the concepts that are inherent in the Christian servant leader who is not afraid to lead decisively. They will characterize us at our best and convict us at our worst.
When we come to the end of our journey, may it be said of us that we led decisively with clear vision, deep humility, and intense resolve. We connected the faith we profess and proclaim to the way we live and lead. What a legacy to leave behind. What a legacy!
–Edward LeBron Fairbanks