Archive for the ‘global’ category

Global and European: Leadership and mission

March 24, 2010

I’ve just had a fascinating conversation with one of our students who mentors young Christian leaders. Maybe it’s me who’s a bit slow, but I’ve always understood ‘global leaders’ to be people with world domination in mind. He’s helping me to see that it’s really about local leaders who think globally. Errrm, right. I think I get it. But what does thinking globally mean if I’m a mission leader here in Europe?

Let me try a more familiar way into the conversation. Europe is a continent of diversity. Diversity is experienced in many forms, including ethnic and religious diversity. Mission encounter in Europe is therefore going to be an encounter with diversity. It means that were we to stand on a soapbox in the local marketplace and start preaching the gospel (does anybody do that today?), some wouldn’t understand our English (or French, or Danish, et al), some would be hostile because of their different religious views, and most of the people would be totally baffled by our Christian language. Imagine for a moment how you’d react to the different responses.

Diverse responses are also increasingly a factor in pastoral ministry. For example, how do you make decisions in church? It’s easy, isn’t it? Brits hold a business meeting, the Norwegians get everybody together and talk their way to a consensus, and the Africans think we should just pray about it and God will show us. Diversity can lead to disagreement and a global leader (I think this is what our student means) recognises this as a reality of the way the world is and she, or he, learns to develop the kind of emotional intelligence that helps them deal with their own uncertainties and anxieties in the face of disagreements.

Thinking globally means understanding global diversity. Recognising global diversity in your own situation calls for a keen ability to listen, observe, and learn. But, isn’t that just what good research should be all about. Hopefully, it’s the kind of research that Nova is able to offer to leaders who are active in European mission.