Blessed are the peacemakers.

Forever Wild

March 2, 2019

"Empathetic, Engaged"
“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you.”
(Philippians 1:3)

The above words are the greeting Paul wrote to the Christ-followers in Philippi! They are full of heart and gratitude. They express deep appreciation and longing that those Christians keep following Jesus and keep pursuing God’s love and justice!

These words are expressive, also, of a transformational leader- of a grounded spiritual movement facilitator! They reflect emotionally intelligent leader! Effective leaders are empathetic team coaches and are engaged with people moving the team towards its goals!

Let’s unpack that! Leaders are first concerned about the people on the team- on the Session, on the Deacons and in the church! Throughout the New Testament the image of the church that is lifted up is that of “the body.” The church is a team! Good transformational leaders are concerned for the members of the body. They are empathetic-thoughtful of the feelings and thoughts of people on the team. It doesn’t mean that she/he agrees with everyone or is in alignment with them. It does mean that he/she understands the unique perspective of everyone around the table!

What does this look like in everyday leadership? It plays itself out in the following scenario:

A Session is seeking to discern new ways to connect with millennials. A variety of opinions are expressed. The moderator or a designated leader could be wanting an expedient decision or disagrees with several voices around the table. He/she could move the decision forward without understanding the unique perspective of everyone. They could miss some important ideas. They will probably discount the people who were not heard. Or she/he could even delay the decision seeking for all the voices to be heard. Transformational leadership is first empathetic!

Second, transformational leaders are engaged with people as they move towards a desired goal. They are friendly, moving people toward a goal and purpose! Daniel Goleman says, “they have a knack for finding the common ground with people of all kinds-a knack for building rapport.” In order to lead a Session to new way of being the church for the 21st century will involve building rapport, schmoozing, chatting, and sometimes even joking around. Engaged leadership moves a team towards a goal with social skill.

How is our empathetic understanding of people?

How are we engaged in relationships with those with whom we are working?

We are all leaders! How are we moving our teams, our Session, etc. toward God’s desired future for us?

Cultivating Transformational Leaders,


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