Everywhere we look, there seems to be leadership crisis. From the highest office of government to top positions in large corporations; from NGO heads to international governing bodies for worldwide sports, there has been no shortage of leadership crises and scandals in various shapes and forms.
But before we look too far, perhaps we should look at our own backyard. Admittedly, we have had our fair share of leadership crisis within the Christian circle also.
You may have heard of business leaders who make very public claims about their Christian faith but are notorious in their own industries for being bad paymasters, lousy bosses, or carrying a very different persona from the one they portray outside.
It would be leaders such as these who are making many disillusioned with the idea of leadership, and worst, the faith they supposedly represent. As a result, many are turned away and refuse to come into the faith because of these bad experiences.
Having seen such adverse effects on his pre-believing friends, Joshua Lee vowed to never become like one of these Christian leaders. He resolved that actions will do the talking, and not words or bold proclamation.
Joshua admits that he has failed as a leader in many respects in his past positions but was not going to give up allowing God’s grace to work in and through him. After being offered the General Manager position at a Public Relations and Activation agency, he once again pulled up his socks and rolled up his sleeves. His warning to himself: Bad apples are eternal deterrents. “I never want to be that.”
So the first thing Joshua did when he took up this job was get on his knees and pray. “I prayed that I would lead these people well and God-willing, represent my faith correctly. I asked God to give me a heart of understanding and a mantle of leadership.
“Here in the marketplace, there are people who may never experience the loving leadership of Christ except through people like you and me who are in the marketplace.”
To Joshua, Christianity and leadership are synonymous. “The very nature of being Christian puts you into a sort of lead position because people will be watching us. So it will be through actions and words that we will inadvertently lead people to Christ, or turn them away. It comes with the territory. It’s not something you can abdicate or shy away from.”
With this in mind, Joshua dove into his new position headfirst, and got down onto the pitch with his staff. “I worked extremely hard. Agency life is like doing a triathlon in the corporate world. It’s a very tough industry with very long hours, demanding clients, and super fast pace.
“The pressure stays at the peak from the moment you check-in and lasts for the next twelve hours before it starts to taper off in the wee hours of the morning. Then you start to do the real thinking work, the processing and the reporting. That’s almost every day.”
Joshua decided that he was not going to be verbal about his faith, but vocal. “The two are not the same,” he said.
“While I believe that you must have a balanced life, in the Malaysian work culture, leaving right on the dot is itself a bad testimony. It shows that you have no inclination or love for people at work,” Joshua added.
“Many Christians have this misperception. Ministry is whatever happens at church, and work is whatever happens at the office. So they give a lot to ministry, and whatever is left, they give to work. That was me,” he said.
“I was like that many years ago as a student. I spent all my time for a gospel rock band, thinking it was ministry. But I was bad at school. My testimony was not good because my grades weren’t good. Looking back now, I realize how foolish I was.”
Joshua explains how “work and ministry” have always been synonymous. “Before sin came into the world, work was already there. If you want to talk about being spiritual, work is and has always been very spiritual. God worked, and then rested. Sin entered the world and made work difficult. Work became mired with toil. But work is still work in its essence. It’s ministry.
“Before sin, God commissioned Adam and Eve to have dominion over the earth—to partner with Him and take care of planet Earth. That was essentially ‘work.’
Work always came with leadership. Have dominion. We’re always called to be the head, not the tail. It doesn’t mean that we always have to be the boss, but it means that we have to lead from where we are, wherever we are.”
Joshua worked so hard in the initial months that he had a minor heart attack in May. “I thought I was going to die, but thank God; He spared me.” As it turns out, he was quite healthy, and the heart attack was anxiety induced. Looking back, however, Joshua has no regrets.
“It was all so worth it,” he said. Today, he can see that his staff love him and that they feel a sense of purpose for being where they are. He takes his position seriously, and he looks after his staff by giving them what they deserve by looking out for their wellbeing.
For example, Joshua has given his auto-access parking cards twice to two of his staff despite having struggled with the very challenging parking situation at his office.
He has also had the pleasure of refusing pay increments so that the funds could be channeled to a staff he knew was the better deserving candidate.
“Everyone travels the first mile,” he said, “but who is going the extra mile? The extra mile is the mile that makes all the difference. It means doing twice as much work sometimes, but it’s worth it.
“There is so much prosperity gospel out there that we tend to think that because we are blessed, we can just sit back, relax, and let God do all the work. But someone once said, ‘the prosperity gospel robs the Gospel of its prosperity.’ Because the Gospel of Jesus Christ says, unless you pick up your cross daily and deny yourself, you cannot follow me. (Luke 9:23)
“Jesus went all the way to the cross. He didn’t go half way. That was the extra mile. Leadership is most effective when communicated through actions, and it has to be practiced by Christians at every level.”
Now that he has worked hard to gain the respect of his associates, now that he has earned a voice, Joshua has the credibility and trust to communicate his heart and beliefs. “Here’s where I start mentioning my faith and what drives me—what my convictions are. It will click. It will make sense.”
“So that’s my objective in life. Whatever I do, I represent Christ.” Even if other Christians are not showing a good testimony, I don’t have to join the crowd. I’ll stand my ground because I know Whom I serve. At the end of the day, people will judge me by my actions.
“That’s my life story for the last nine months and I hope I have made an impact. In the bigger picture of P&L (profits and loss), the real profit here is the soul. If people see Christ and are drawn to him, that’s profit.
“His grace is sufficient for you and I if we assume our leadership positions and allow God to strengthen us and enable us to shine in this darkened world.”
|Share The Good News|