As we were on our way to the airport, my wife and I were talking about politics and religion. We concluded they both come down to leadership. Our city is in shambles, we have homeless encampments everywhere, crime has taken a sharp increase, and politics in our city is focusing on defunding the police. All of these issues point to leadership.
I’m convinced that leadership is only competent when it seeks to bring the best solutions for all people. When it doesn’t specialize on an agenda that only concerns itself with a select group of people. Leaders are so concerned about how they are perceived. They are so careful that they will not be targeted by lawsuits or by the cancel-culture that their leadership is greatly affected. One can argue that in today’s world the chances of a leader being targeted have greatly increased, but that does not negate their responsibility to lead according to the values of good government. Good government does not experiment with the safety of its citizens. Defunding police budgets and creating a system of counselors to replace how you handle criminals will only put people’s lives at risk. Criminals will not respond to counselors … they will only see an opportunity to expand criminal activity because there is no threat of bodily harm to them.
The second part of our discussion was about our inability to be self-aware of our failures and to address them openly and honestly. Government leadership always needs to make course corrections because society is changing, and we might not have the right leaders in place for these changes. We have a city council that is responsible for the uptick in murders and crime in our city. Their bold statements of defunding the police for another system shortly following the death of George Floyd poured fuel on the fire of criminal activity. The statistics don't lie:
Homicides in Minneapolis are up 50 percent, with nearly 75 people killed across the city so far this year. More than 500 people have been shot, the highest number in more than a decade and twice as many as in 2019. And there have been more than 4,600 violent crimes — including hundreds of carjackings and robberies — a five-year high.
Minneapolis police officers imposed abrupt changes of their own, adopting what amounts to a hands-off approach to everyday lawbreaking in a city where killings have surged to a level not seen in decades. ~Reuters
The city council is responsible for this, and they won’t take responsibility for it. They act as if this is just the result of a bad police chief and the anger in the city over unlawful deaths of black men. This is just not true. If you ask people in the predominately black neighborhoods on the northside of Minneapolis, they want the presence of the police. They know how crime has skyrocketed without police presence. Apparently, that doesn’t matter to this city council … they want their new system regardless of the collateral damage it creates in our city. The city council created the emphasis on defunding the police that sparked the upheaval in our city. Yet, they haven’t been held accountable for any of it and most of these council members are running for re-election, as is the mayor of Minneapolis. These leaders who are so unaware of their actions have no business in city government overseeing the welfare of the city. No one will benefit from this kind of leadership. Citizens need to hold their city governments accountable.
This is true for the church as well. Pastors who do not have a clue what their role is in the church are also culpable in failing their congregations as leaders. A pastor’s leadership is about making disciples. A pastor’s leadership is about growing people in their faith in God, and being aware of how that happens in daily life. Today, many of the agendas that guide the emphasis in so many churches simply sidetrack the message of the Biblical Gospel. They are diversions from the truth of the Gospel … these diversions are not in the best interests of building His Kingdom. Jesus told us to go into the world and make disciples. That is the main thing we should do through the ministry in the church.
It has been said, "As the leaders go so goes the city, the church, the government, etc., etc." It all comes down to who is steering the ship. Who is making the case for the new ideas that will rule in our day? When leaders get elected or hired, it is the job of the citizens or parishioners to make sure the people are being led in a way that brings out the best for the people they serve.
One last thought … every leader leads according to what they believe. It doesn’t matter if that leader is running for city council or is a candidate to become the new pastor … they all have a basis for their thinking and behavior. What they think about the Constitution or capitalism is a sure way of telling you the direction that leader will lead as it relates to government. If a pastoral candidate has strong leanings toward social issues, theological debates, and liberal ideology you had better find a new candidate … this one will not lead you deeper into Christ, but away from Him.
It’s all about leadership. That is why the Apostle Paul tells us to pray for them … it is not easy to lead people through the myriad of issues facing each of us in our day.
1 Timothy 2 1I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them. 2Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3This is good and pleases God our Savior.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler