Expressions of Courage
By: Bryan Sampson
Courage. Do we have it? How do we know? Has it simply be translated to boldness in your mind or is there more to it? In TCSE we talk, train, and teach a lot about courageous leadership. I believe this is for two reasons: First, for most of us courage has to be developed; harnessing the courage of Christ is a process and part of our sanctification. Secondly, without it we will never become the God-glorifying leaders Christ is calling us to be. To be an agent of light in this dark world we must become a courageous leader.
As Christians we are not intended to go through life and not lead. We should be leading others to Christ, leading our families, leading in our churches, leading in our jobs and ministries, and leading ourselves in a way that magnifies the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ in all things. The thought that “I am a better follower than leader” should only be accepted in certain contexts and never become a part of our identity. We are ambassadors of Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, so we must see the saliency of having courage for such a position (2 Cor. 5:20).
So what are some expressions that a courageous leader exhibits? Stanley (2003) gives us three expressions of courage that are essential for those who aspire to be leaders worth following:
- The Courage to Say No. How disciplined is your life? Have you bought into the belief that doing more is going to bring you greater success? This is a pitfall for most, myself included. It can be difficult to turn away opportunities. But remember, as Mike Nappa puts it, “opportunity does not equal obligation”. Having the ability to identify and focusing on the few key things is a hallmark of great leadership (p.69). Don’t allow the many good opportunities to divert your attention from the one opportunity that has the greatest potential (p.70). Don’t fear missing an opportunity, fear missing the moment you’re currently in.
- The Courage to Face Current Reality. We can’t escape our biases but we can become aware of how these will skew our reality. Falling into the trap of putting a positive spin on everything will serve the purpose of feeding our ego and self-esteem, but in the long run it will only cause us to lose sight of what is really happening around us. As Stanley puts it, “If you don’t know where you really are, it is impossible to get to where you need to be. What you don’t know can kill you” (p.73). Courageous leadership begins with getting people to confront the brutal facts and to act on the implications. I encourage you to study p.74 and review the seven commandments of current reality Stanley puts forth to help yourself live in reality.
- The Courage to Dream. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine, sucked into the monotony of how things have always been done. Complacent. If there is one attribute we never want to lose as we mature, it is the ability to dream. Dream about what you could be and should be and dream about what our ministry could be and should be. When was the last time you let your mind wander outside the boundaries of what is and began to create a mental picture of what could be? “Dream no small dreams, for they stir not the hearts of men” (p.79).
There is no bigger dream for our generation than to put hope within reach of every addict. Such a move from God will only be made through those who are operating in the courage that only Christ can give, so pray and begin to express it today!
Stanley, A. (2003). The next geneartion leader: Five essential for those who will shape the future. New York: Multnomah.