If I were a doctor signing the death certificates of the thousands who die needlessly, I wouldn't write "measles" or "malaria" or "AIDS." I would write one word as the cause of death: "Lethargy." It's our most deadly disease.
Hold Up God's Truth
What does it take to lead people outside the Magic Kingdom? The Old Testament prophets were constantly holding up the standard of God's truth in front of God's people. They made it clear what God's expectations were, and they let God's people know where they fell short.
God says to the prophet Isaiah: "Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins" (Isa. 58:1).
The passage goes on to describe the ways in which Israel believes it is following God's will. "They seem eager for God to come near them" (v. 2). And yet the reality was different. Yes, they fasted, but they exploited their workers. Sure, they prayed to God, yet hit one another with their fists.
To expose their sinful behavior, Isaiah holds up God's truth. It is not abstaining from food that God cares about, but sharing it with the hungry and giving shelter to the poor. True fasting, he says is "to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free" (v. 3-7).
Isaiah is a great example for leaders. We need to challenge our communities with God's truth and compare it to the way we are living. We need to help people along the path of seeing their own lives in the reflection of God's truth. This is the start of discipleship.
At World Vision, we lift up God's truth in every way we can. In our weekly chapels, we repeat the same message, rallying our staff around our mission.
Recently, a suburban mom told us how she became an activist based out of her kitchen.
A theologian spoke about how our Christian identity and programs will look different around the world based on the local needs and cultures.
A volunteer church leader discussed how she reaches out to schools and children in the Seattle area using our after school programs.
The themes are different but the message is the same: we exist to help children and their families and communities experience the fullness of life in Jesus Christ.
For both employees and our supporters, we offer service opportunities, worship and preaching, trips to the field, and church-based programs that hold up God's truth. Contrasting our consumerist desires with the truth of God's Word has a way of replacing lethargy with passion.
We have to communicate God's truth and expectation constantly. We cannot be timid about confronting people with the expectations of Scripture and to embrace the full cost of discipleship to Jesus. Our goal is to form passionate followers of Christ.
Lead a Revolution
Leading people out of the Magic Kingdom and communicating God's truth are necessary steps to move people beyond complacency. But as leaders, we need to take one step further. We are called to lead a revolution.