In 2008, Mark Sayers was leading a Melbourne, Australia, church known for being culturally engaged and missionally inventive. But a simple question threw it all into doubt. Shortly after the birth of their first child, Sayers’s wife asked if he thought the church would be around when their daughter turned 14. “I was silenced by the question,” says Sayers, 40. “I was forced to confront the answer: a resounding no.”

Why such a bleak outlook? “We were recognized for our revolutionary spirit, our imagination, hipness, and creativity. But we didn’t have the structures and the leadership to sustain, cultivate, and grow it over the long haul,” says the author of The Vertical Self, a 2010 biblical take on identity in an age of consumerism. Sayers was also disheartened by spiritual immaturity among his fellow ministers. “We had rallied together to reach what we saw as the chaotic postmodern culture. Yet instead of us reaching it, its chaos seemingly had swamped us.”

This set Sayers on a quest to find a ministry approach that would stand the test of time. Today Sayers leads Red Church, which seeks to “show others that despite everything our culture tells us, there is another story.” A keen exegete of contemporary culture, Sayers published a series of books tracing cultural trends’ historical roots. His latest, Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm (Moody), explores ways Christians can lead effectively in a “society of spectacle” while facing the threat of Leviathan: an embodiment of personal, social, and institutional sin and chaos. Leadership Journal managing editor Drew Dyck recently talked to Sayers. ...

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