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Leading Out of the Status Quo

If a definition of leadership is basically moving others toward a goal—moving a group of people from one place to another—then the first part of our job as catalytic leaders is to define reality.

It’s a vital part of what we do. It’s what Jesus did over and over for his disciples. Catalytic leaders have to turn the heat up and help people understand why maintaining the present status quo isn’t right or healthy and why inaction is not an option. For corporate passion to occur, the leader must deeply feel, communicate, and then rally a dissatisfaction with the status quo. He or she must keenly explain why the current situation is unsustainable or even unconscionable. At some point, leaders sense that they can’t stomach where they are anymore, nor their organization’s apathy. What can you not take anymore? Are you tired of a Christianity that has lost its hunger for more of the Kingdom of God? How dissatisfied are you with your own spiritual status quo? Jesus put it like this: “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” (Mt. 5:6 Message) At the end of forty years of wandering in the wilderness after Israel’s liberation from centuries of bondage under the Egyptian Empire, Moses receives a clear leadership command from God: “You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north…” (Deut. 2:3 NASB)

The status quo was no longer acceptable. Israel’s trek had been spotted with four decades of rebellion, disobedience, grumbling and divided loyalties. It was a spiritual status quo in desperate need of movement; as a matter of fact, the original generation that found change difficult to handle had died off. When Candy Lightner’s thirteen-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver who had been arrested several times before, she discovered a problem bigger than her personal grief, loss, and pain: the lack of legislation to take people off the road who get hammered and then crawl into a two-ton weapon of sheet metal and gasoline. She formed Mothers Against Drunk Driving and in twenty-five years alcohol-related traffic deaths were reduced nearly forty-percent. An unfathomable tragedy and disgust with “that’s just how things are” was a powerful impetus. A dissatisfaction with the status quo and desire for meaning affects all human beings at some point. But how we recognize it organizationally and lead through it is critical.

Question of the Day: What Is That You Can't Take Anymore As A Leader?


*excerpted from "Elemental Leaders: Four Essentials Every Leader Needs...And Every Church Must Have"


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