Monday, January 10, 2011


One of the great quotations from the inspirational movie Remember the Titans was “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.” The context is that two football teams from two different high schools (one white and one black) are being merged together. One of the black players is frustrated that white players are not blocking for “Rev,” one of the black running backs. In return, the black players decide to not give their complete effort for the white players. When one of the white captains of the team, Bertier, hears about this, he exclaims, “That’s the worst attitude I’ve ever heard.” To which Big Ju responds, “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.”

As a Christian leader it is incumbent upon us to model positive attitude. There are three kinds of sunny outlooks we can captain. The first is optimism -- the firm belief that things will go well. The second is hope -- the belief that things might or could go well. The third kind of outlook I will call "relentless positivity.” Relentless positivity is not an optimistic belief that things will go well, or could go well. Nor does it involve denying or ignoring bad things that happen. Rather, it is a determination to stay positive, even though one knows already some bad things are going to happen.

In any social enterprise – churches not excluded – there will be challenges (read: disagreements, disappointments, frustrations, misunderstandings, et al). At these setback moments a leader must behave more like a thermostat than a thermometer. But for a Christian leader, the positivity is fueled by a promise from Christ himself: “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”

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