Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Good leaders pick their battles. In this respect, the founding fathers of America can teach us important lessons.

During their presidencies, both George Washington and John Adams took a path of neutrality in the conflicts between France and England. In fact, the foundation of Washington's foreign policy was the Proclamation of Neutrality (1793) which said that America was going to stay out of the ongoing, hundred year conflict in Europe. Washington declared, "Every true friend to this Country must see and feel that the policy of it is not to embroil ourselves with any nation whatsoever; but to avoid their disputes and politics; and if they will harass one another, to avail ourselves of the neutral conduct we have adopted. Twenty years peace with such an increase in population and resources as we have a right to expect; added to our remote situation from the jarring powers, will in all probability enable us in a just cause to bid defiance to any nation on earth." Clearly, Washington's approach was calculated to allow our fledgling country to become better established, and to keep from squandering precious resources of time and money overseas.

Some have referred to Washington's approach as "the strategy of enlightened procrastination." Sometimes, by not doing anything, you are doing the best thing you can do as a leader.

It is not by accident that CTK is a non-denominational, generic, vanilla evangelical church. It is not by accident that we do not "take a position" on many secondary issues. We have deliberately not entered into many theological skirmishes and debates. We have kept the main thing the main thing. Our only allegiance is to Christ. Our focus is on loving God and people. Neutrality has freed up our time to pursue worship, small groups and outreach as priorities.

There is always a battle of words being fought somewhere in the church world. Be careful to not get sucked in, unless we are talking about an essential doctrine. The energy and time that it will take to engage in a war of words does not give you a return on investment. Remember Augustine's council: "In essential matters unity, in non- essential matters diversity, in all matters charity."

You will occasionally be invited to "join the fray." You will receive letters from organizations that are picking fights with various parts of the body. You will get some emails that tempt you to engage. Remain clear about the ultimate mission. Don't be distracted by lesser concerns.

No comments: