Leadership, Leadership, Leadership!
May the grace and peace from our risen Lord be with you.
It is already June, and our 2016 Annual Conference is approaching. When you receive this June issue of the Advocate, General Conference (GC) will be over. The decisions on the issues we have been struggling with will have been made. I hope and pray that the GC prayerfully and humbly discerned God’s will and followed this will in all their decisions. I also pray that, through the decisions of the GC, the mission of The United Methodist Church and our unity in Christ will be strengthened and uplifted.
The theme of the Advocate this month is leadership. Many years ago when we started a new church, church leaders used to emphasize the impor¬tance of location by saying, “location, location, location!”
But nowadays that has been changed. Now, we say, “leadership, lead¬ership, leadership!” This is true not only in starting a new faith community, but also in revitalizing existing churches. We cannot emphasize enough the impor-tance of leadership in our mission and ministries today.
When we look at Scripture, we find the same principle. Before the great acts of salvation history happened, there was always a time for the leaders to be prepared. The book of Exodus begins with the birth of Moses. When Moses was ready at the age of 80, God began liberating the people of Israel from Egypt by using Moses. When Samuel was ready as the spiritual leader for Israel, the history of transition from Judges to the kingdom started. In the Gospels, the salvation story of all human beings begins with the birth of Jesus. When the right time came, Jesus began his ministry. In the book of Acts, before the disciples, including Paul, went out to the world to proclaim the Good News, there was a time for them to be prepared for this great mission.
Leadership is that important in Scripture. It is also that important in our churches today. When an effective pastor is appointed to a church, we see differences beginning to take place, al¬though the church, the people of God, is the same congregation. Leadership can make differences in our churches and in their mission and ministries. So, it is very important, and the right thing, that the UMC sets leadership development as one of its four areas of focus.
I think Christian leadership has two important components: servant leader¬ship and spiritual leadership. This is what our Lord taught us. Christian leadership is servant leadership. We were called to serve, not to be served. Our Lord Jesus repeatedly spoke of this leadership in many places in the Gospels. His act of washing his disciples’ feet is a great example of this servant leadership, and he told us to do the same thing.
Christian leadership is also spiri¬tual leadership. We can define spiritual leadership in many ways, but in a simple sense, this leadership is about being in relationship with God. Being a spiri¬tual leader means having a deep and profound relationship with God. There is no limit to our growth in this leadership. The deeper we know God, the more humbly we love God and the more faith¬fully we obey God’s will.
It has been my great joy to em¬phasize the importance of leadership, especially the importance of spiritual leadership, for the past four years. If our spiritual leadership is not strengthened, there is no way for our churches to be revitalized. It will not be possible for our churches to be turned around from decline. I thank God and all our clergy and laity who took my challenge and began the journey to strengthen their spiritual leadership by humbly opening themselves to God in prayer.
Soon we will gather again in Roa¬noke for our Annual Conference. We will gather, seeking for Thy will to be done in our worship and in our business items. Seeking Thy will is the best way for us because our God is wiser than we are and stronger than we are. And our God loves us much more than we love ourselves. If God is not wiser than we are, and seeking our will is better than Thy will, why do we need to believe in such an unwise God? Seeking and fol-lowing God’s will will be best for us, for our churches and for the world. Please keep on praying for our gathering in June and for the future of our beloved United Methodist Church.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
In our Lord,
Young Jin Cho