The book: In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Henri Nouwen is an absolutely wonderful short book. It’s packed with powerful nuggets truths and confounds conventional worldly wisdom. Nouwen encourages that Christians form a discipline of contemplative prayer, saying:
“Christian leaders have to learn to listen again and again to the voice of love and to find there the wisdom and courage to address whatever issue presents itself to them. Dealing with burning issues without being rooted in a deep personal relationship with God easily leads to divisiveness because, before we know it, our sense of self is caught up in our opinion about a given subject.”
So true. Our debates turn heated and we end up becoming enemies rather than friends. How can this be? What’s the answer or cure for this human sickness?
“But when we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative. For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required” (p.46-47).
As Christian believers, we ought to have a deeply rooted relationship with God and develop an intimate prayer life that is centered in Jesus, and foster a relationship with God such that it replaces power and control with true love. Our natural desire is to want to be powerful, relevant, and popular. These are not ingredients to effective ministry; these can be a recipe for major disaster. If Jesus is to truly be effective in our lives, we must first let go of our desire for power and follow the humble way of Jesus.