Shared Leadership

A few weeks ago, Steve Douglass in an all staff email wrote about “shared leadership.”  In case you missed it, I thought I would pass it along.

Think, Pray, Act

As you know, one of the key elements of our desired culture in Campus Crusade for Christ is “shared leadership.” When I learned more about what all that meant, I realized that there were parts of it I didn’t do very well. Though I had been leading teams of various sizes and had been teaching on leadership for decades, still there were some shortcomings.

Last year while determining my updated personal development plan, I included two major components related to improving in “shared leadership.” I sought input from some Campus Crusade leaders, attended a training, read some articles and a book, asked a very knowledgeable consultant to coach me and took concrete steps in response.

Now, if you were to ask the members of the Executive Team, they would tell you that God has caused some visible progress. In fact, I have taken one of the “shared leadership” items off of the plan because it now seems to be a habit.

On one hand that took time and energy, but more importantly, it took trusting God for an attitude of willingness to try new things. I had to come to the point that a somewhat uncertain future was better than what I knew for certain about the past. The change had to be worth it in order to do what God had called me to do.

I see some parallels in the situation we face in Campus Crusade today. As I and others have mentioned previously, some of our results and trends are far from what we would like. It is obvious that some things need to change. Yet, the culture survey revealed that 93 percent of us, as staff members, strongly believe in the goals and objectives of our movement.

In other words, we want very much to do well at what God has called us to do, but we seem to be struggling to accomplish it. So what do we need to change? To see improvement, we can’t just want it, we must pray and think and act differently… just like I had to do to improve in leading.

For example, if we want to see the gospel everywhere, spiritual movements everywhere and true followers of Jesus everywhere, we need to work with many more people than we are now working with. In order for millions more people to get involved, they are going to have to be intrinsically motivated to get involved. They will need to “own” the mission themselves.

Sometimes though, it seems like many of us, as staff members, are not passing ownership to our disciples as well and as rapidly as we might be able to do. Certainly good judgment needs to be applied, but one trend or change that needs to occur is to give more ownership to people at the local/grassroots level. I remember how much my graduate school roommates and I rose to a higher level of commitment and effectiveness when the staff in Boston gave us that opportunity. I doubt if I would have joined staff if they had not.

Also, a similar type of change needs to occur regarding working with other Christian groups. On one hand, we engage in some remarkable kingdom partnerships. On the other hand, a significant percentage of our staff members and local ministries are not working together with other groups.

Obviously, we need to do well what God has called us to do. But we also need to work with others who are moving in the same direction; we need to have an overall kingdom perspective.  If we don’t, we will probably not see everyone on earth knowing someone who truly follows Jesus. The scope of the total task is beyond what any single organization can accomplish. So we must work with others to have any hope of completing that task.

This morning, my pastor talked about sharing our story.  He told how every person has a purpose that should result in making a difference in others.  And then he said something that caught me off guard.  “God save us from the professionals.  And I am one!”  He explained that because all believers are ambassadors, we should not rely on the professionals to do the ministry, but distribute it to others.  We as staff want to look for ways to involve more students, faculty, volunteers and alumni in leading ministry.


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