Efrem Smith. Wow. Okay, this preacher is annointed. He also has a delicious sense of humor.
He began by setting a context for his teaching by reminding us that the world in which we live and serve, is diverse. He said that this soil is multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial. He then suggested that the strange thing is, the more diverse we get, the more divided we become. Without hesitation, Smith contends that we need leaders who will navigate this world to bring about healing, peace, empowerment, true biblical prosperity.
His call to those of us who beleive we are gifted and called (whatever order that came into ourlives) as leasers is that must lead – be prophetic, be professional. And in order to do that well, we must be willing to be invaded by a force that will equip and empower of us to lead multi-culturally no matter where we are in the world – not as experts, not as the qualified. We need to be willing to have things within ourselves crucified…
How can we do this? How can we lead within our current context? Smith turned to the Word.
We must become a beloved leader
Efram reminded us that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used the term “the beloved community” – and then stated that he is convinced that there have to be beloved leaders first. Beloved leaders who lead people into beloved communities.
How? Smith says that you become a beloved leader when you allow a force of God to come upon you, work in you, and express itself through you. Within the context of the world in which we live today (check the demographics), he stated quite strongly that if you can’t love across race and class, across urban and suburban, you can’t lead today.
We must be an abiding leader
IF we love one another, God abides in us. That is biblical. But to love one another, this is impossible for us to do. And that's good. Smith expressed his conviction that we’ve got to abide in something (someONE) beyond us. But he quicly pointed out that what we often do is use an excuse that we are not qualified, but it is not about qualification. It is about the force beyond our self that picks us up and moves us into God’s work.
(Smith wanted us to understand this as an aside: God loves to call unqualified people into his work.)
As the Church and in order to be socially innovative and creatively transformative, we must be DIVERSE. We must stop being the thing to which the world points to prove that there are still issues of RACE, CLASS and PLACE.
We must be confessing leaders
Confess truth = confessing both what I’ve got right and what I’ve got wrong. This means that effective leaders say “my bad.” (Jonah did this.) Confessing leaders says “I don’t know what to do.”
What if we could see ourselves BEYOND our cultural and racial identities.
Now a little editorial commentary and gushing. If you get a chance to hear this session on the DVD sometime...DO IT! It is more than worth the time you'll invest. For those around the Wycliffe USA world, don't be surprised if you find this session working it's way into some part of our ongoing diversity training because Smith addresses issues that are critical to our understanding.