Monthly Archives: November 2022

The Leader who Promotes the Culture of Christ – Introduction

“More than half (64%) of Christians say integrity is one of the most important traits a leader must have.”

Barna Group & Brad Lomenick

Before today ´ s topic, as always, it is important to mention that the English version of this article has been translated from the Spanish version of Towards Excellence (https://hacialaexcelencia.org/2022/11/06/el-lider-que-promueve-la-cultura-de-cristo-introduccion/); not necessarily from the original texts and works of authors here cited.

“Ours first!” I remember this phrase with sadness and annoyance. Years ago when I used to work on television as a news anchor; on one occasion, after the news, I was invited to stay to co-host a music program. And one of the first videos to be presented was an Ecuadorian production. Secular music, without any uplifting message, rather the opposite; but when presenting it I did it with so much enthusiasm, trying to promote “ours first.” I was already a Christian. And just a couple of minutes later while behind the scenes I watched the video I had announced myself; I was ashamed and was really convicted by the Lord. I easily promoted my culture, forgetting whom I represent!

In one of the Barna Group publications, “Christians on Leadership, Calling and Career,” it is made clear that concern for leadership seems to be everywhere, in the church and in the culture:

“No matter what is happening in the world, leadership takes center stage. Kim Jong Un is bringing his nation to the brink of war. A group of senators is directing their fellow Senate members to adopt new policies on illegal immigration. People speculate where the new Pope and the new Archbishop of Canterbury will take their respective churches.” (Barna Group 2013)

Precisely, according to a survey conducted by the Barna Group in 2013, more than eight in ten (82%) of Christian adults believe that the United States faces a crisis of leadership because there are not enough leaders.[1]

Barna1-engSo too and according to another survey of Christian adults conducted by the same Barna Group in conjunction with Brad Lomenick, President of the Catalyst conference, which asked: What is the most important quality in a leader? The main answer was “integrity.” More than half (64%) of Christians say integrity is one of the most important traits a leader must have.[2]

And the current panorama of the planet, from a few decades ago, is increasingly discouraging in terms of leadership. There is a long history to go in the world of politics, business and, unfortunately, also in the church. So many leaders have fallen hard from their pedestals and platforms; and the worst thing is that many of them have not managed to get up.

Let’s talk, for example, about Fernando Collor de Melo, former president of Brazil, who is said to have built his prestige by promoting himself as someone who firmly fights against corruption. But in 1992, contradictorily, Collor de Melo, in collaboration with his treasurer, had diverted around 350 million dollars for himself and his family, all this due to influence peddling.[3]

At a private level, for example, in 2001 it became known that the large US company Enron, which at that time had about 2,000 employees, declared bankruptcy. They were accused of bribery and influence peddling in Central America, South America, Africa and in two Asian countries, the Philippines and India. The bankruptcy was calculated at around 63.4 billion dollars.[4]

And what about Christian leadership in the different spheres? Has the scenario been different? Unfortunately, not!

Let us now refer to Ríos Montt, who at the end of the seventies takes a turn in his life, leaves Catholicism and becomes a leader of the Pentecostal church El Verbo. On March 23, 1982, Ríos Montt, along with other officers, carried out a coup d’état, through which he became the leader of a three-person military junta. And in 2013 he was sadly convicted of attempts to exterminate the Mayan Ixils. As the story goes, General Ríos Montt used to say:

“…that all true Christians carried the Bible in one hand and a rifle in the other.” (Kinz 2018)

And to the peasants he said:

“If they are with us, we will feed them; if not, we will kill them.” (Kinz 2018)

In fact, the author of “Shining like stars”, Lindsay Brown, refers in her book that she had the opportunity to talk with one of the workers from the time of the Ríos Montt government and whom she approached saying that it was surely wonderful to have a Christian president. But to her surprise, the worker replied:

“Lindsay, it is a tragedy that he was chosen since he does not have a Christian mind. The corruption continues and he gives high positions to his relatives. So, his election has turned out to be a scandal for the Government”. (Brown 2007)

Certainly, tragic, and inconceivable, but unfortunately, nothing surprising these days!

Now, what about pastors and church leaders? The situation is not different sadly; and over the last few decades, so many leaders have shamefully fallen from their pulpits.

We will refer then to a dramatic story, “inside doors”, told by Jane Overstreet, in her book “Unleader – The Surprising Qualities of a Valuable Leader,” who in dialogue with one of his students who for days had shown a hostile attitude; while they had a coffee, she managed to penetrate to the intimacy of his heart. To make a long story short, when asked by Jane about his father, the boy replied that he didn’t know him very well because his parents had divorced and added that his father had been a pastor. Having entered confidence, he expounded:

“Well, actually all of my parents are pastors. My mom has been married five times, although she is currently divorcing her last partner. Yes! I have been a pastor’s son in five different churches, with five different dads. I think I’ve broken the record! True?” (Overstreet 2011)

The author then reflects and asks herself some questions, just as we are surely asking ourselves right now, reading this devastatingRight is right story. Overstreet claims that she has met many young people who have grown up in the evangelical church but have no respect for her. Is it because of everything they have seen in the church? Is it because the divorce rate of Christians in the United States is as high as that of non-believers? Or is it due to the loss of integrity? All these questions and even more, which certainly lead us to meditate deeply on the decline of leadership, and not just in the United States, but around the world.

Coming up: The Culture of Christ is the Culture of the Kingdom of God! Very soon!

[1] Research Releases in Culture & Media, “Christians on Leadership, Calling and Career,” The Barna Research Group, https://www.barna.com/research/christians-on-leadership-calling-and-career/

[2] Research Releases in Culture & Media, “Christians on Leadership, Calling and Career,” The Barna Research Group, https://www.barna.com/research/christians-on-leadership-calling-and-career/

[3] Miguel Núñez, Vivir con Integridad y Sabiduría: Persigue los valores que la sociedad ha perdido (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2016), 20.

[4] Miguel Núñez, Vivir con Integridad y Sabiduría: Persigue los valores que la sociedad ha perdido (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2016), 23.