Posted by: Andrea Mullins | 24 November, 2009

Are You In Need of the Nehemiah Factor?

Not long ago I asked leaders of women’s ministries programs from some of the leading churches in our nation to share their vision, mission, or philosophy for women’s ministry in the church. I was surprised to discover there was little intentional focus on involvement in God’s mission in the world. The lack of intentionality in equipping and involving women in evangelism or personal ministry, as well as on meeting the spiritual and human needs of people around the world, was quickly evident.

One of our authors, Dr. Frank Page, is the new Vice President of Evangelization for the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board. He is author of The Nehemiah Factor, 16 Characteristics of a Missional Leader. His view of missional is

“Christianity that integrates concern for both evangelism and social ministries. It is a kind of acting out of the faith in daily life. The word encompasses much of what Christians have simply thought of in the past as living out the Christ life.”

So what is the “Christ life?” It seems it should be a life lived as Christ lived. Didn’t He live and lead with an absolute focus toward God’s mission–to preach and bring the good news?  His disciples heard and observed firsthand His preaching, teaching, and ministry. While Jesus may have had some natural ability as a leader, I believe His missional leadership came as a result of His obedience to His Father. Jesus understood what was important to the Father and that is who He became and why He lived.  To live the Christ life was and is now to preach and bring the good news in obedience to God’s commands.

Dr. Page defines missional leadership as a result of obedience to God’s leading.

“In my own life, I have sensed the call of God in many ways and at many times.  Sometimes that sense of call is in regards to a specific issue or location or task.  Other times I’ve had a clear sense of peace which came immediately as God has directed me.  For example, when I was running for the President of the Southern Baptist Convention office in 2006, God spoke to my heart very clearly early in the morning regarding the day’s outcome.  He used John 15:16 to let me know that he was going to place me in a position which would enable me to “bear fruit that would last for eternity.”  It was a clear sense of direction from God which gave me a peace throughout the day and beyond.” All of us need to continue growing as leaders.  All of us need to continue seeking to follow the passion that God lays upon our heart.  I’m convinced that one of the great characteristics of leadership is the element of charisma in which a person is perceived to be so committed to a passion or an issue that is more important than life tself.  Can’t we all agree that the Gospel is such a worthy cause?

For Dr. Page the focus of Christian leadership is the gospel of Christ. The gospel is our “great cause.” In other words, the goal of Christian leadership is the equipping of believers to live the Christ life—preaching and bringing the good news, whether to the neighbor next door, or the stranger in a far off place. Dr. Page is often asked questions about leadership and one of the most often asked questions is,

“’Can a person learn leadership or does one have to have an innate quality of leadership from birth?’  I do believe there are truly gifted individuals who seem to have a capacity for and a propensity to leadership from early childhood.  However, I do believe that all persons can learn to be better leaders.  I believe the key to making leadership effective is to have a calling, a passion, or a cause that leads us to commitment.  For believers in Christ, it is easy to be passionate about the mission to which he has called us.  He has given us our marching orders in the great commission and given us our instructions on how to live in this world throughout the entirety of the Bible.  Therefore, the passion does not have to be manufactured nor the cause manipulated.  We are fortunate to have such a great cause to believe in and a great mission to follow.”

So whether we are running for president of a denomination, or leading a women’s ministry in our church, or teaching a Bible study, or influencing our families, our leading is always to be missional. As Dr. Page shared, “We are fortunate to have such a great cause to believe in and a great mission to follow.”



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