Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : February 7, 2005

I loved the following from Chris Erdman and Alan Roxburgh so much that I quote it in its entirety:

Courage: The Fulcrum Around Which Transformation Pivots

Chris Erdman and Al Roxburgh write: Chris is
teaching Missional Leadership to graduate students this semester. In
this unit on The Leader’s Self the class is exploring the nature of
courage this week. Chris ways, "Because missional transformation
invites conflict and embraces it as creative (as well as destructive to
old, reified systems), it will require a courageous leadership posture.
Courageous leaders will practice a well-differentiated leadership
posture–a willingness to expose their convictions, priorities, and
plans not only acceptance and approval, but also to rejection and
ridicule. Courage may well be the fulcrum around which missional
transformation pivots."

About this kind of courage Alan says, "Courage is about doing the
right thing when it is neither easy nor comfortable. While habitual
solutions and practices will not innovate a missional congregation, our
instinctive response is to default to solutions that have worked in the
past. It takes courage to accept the personal consquences of leading
people out of familiar habits and patterns toward an alternative
future. When Moses brought the peole across the Red Sea, they were
thrilled that someonce had finally acted to release them from an
untenable situation. But once in the desert, they discovered that the
habits learned in Egypt could not sustain them on this new journey.
They became angry and complained, demanding that Moses return them to
the security of Egypt. Moses’ personal courage was in his willingness
to pay the price of resisting the pressure to give in to these demands.

"Personal courage involves a readiness to sacrifice popularity in
order to tackle the tough issues of transformation. This courage is
essential as it beocme clear that missional change is not a short-term
program amenable to pragmatic programs. Instead, it is about the
formation of an alternative imagination formed over time. Personal
courage is the capacity to go on a long journey in the same direction,
even in those times when few might seem willing to follow. It is about
keeping to one’s core values, ideals and sense of call, even when these
have become upopular."

Mark Van Steenwyk is the editor of He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He lives in South Minneapolis with his wife (Amy), son (Jonas) and some of their friends.

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