A Pursuit of Excellence for God’s Glory and Purpose
On March 20, 1976, a meeting was held that would change the trajectory of the Christian ministry world. On that evening, 20 Christian leaders came together in a small room in Rodger Young Auditorium in Los Angeles with a shared desire for the pursuit of excellence in Christian ministry. Little did they know that this meeting would plant the seed that would eventually grow to become what is today Christian Leadership Alliance (CLA).
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of CLA, an organization that equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. CLA celebrates this milestone at the 2016 Outcomes Conference is Dallas, TX, April 19-21. For us here at CLA, it’s all about God and his glory, and we’re honored to have been a part of his work for these past 40 years. We also eagerly anticipate the great kingdom opportunities to come.
As I reflect on these 40 years of impact for the leaders and organizations comprising CLA, I am reminded of Frank Capra’s classic 1946 Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life. The film tells the story of George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart. He is a man who questions his life’s impact and meaning. With some angelic assistance, Bailey gains perspective on how different his community would be without his influence. Instead of an idyllic community resulting from Bailey’s tireless and sacrificial efforts to help others, it would, without Bailey, be marked by hopelessness, poverty and vice. George Bailey learns that his indeed is a “wonderful life” of lasting impact for good.
I think we need that sort of perspective for the work that we as Christian leaders do each day. Our efforts in the name of Christ change our world for the better. During the past 40 years, the Christian ministries and leaders comprising CLA truly have transformed our world. Simply put, many are flourishing today because of leaders who have served as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to a world in need.
In Matthew 5:13–15, our Lord Jesus called us to this ministry of salt and light:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”
Christians are the salt that preserves, and the light that illuminates our world. I recently finished reading Dr. John R.W. Stott’s classic book The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (InterVarsity Press, 1978). I was once again struck by the beautiful, compelling and radical nature of Jesus’ message in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7). In it, Jesus is counter cultural, calling his followers to think higher and live differently from the world. I see that culturally transformative spirit of mercy, grace and peace in the incredible work that Christian ministries are doing here in the U.S. and around the world today.
Often the world paints a negative view of Christians. In an increasingly divided society that view shouldn’t surprise us. But those caricatures of Christians simply aren’t true. Throughout history, the church has led the way in caring for the less fortunate in our world. Thanks to the leaders and organizations comprising CLA, that is still the case today. As we each pursue our unique calling in Christ’s kingdom, we’re helping to advance the work that our Lord Jesus announced as he began his ministry here on earth:
“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” (Luke 4:16–21)
With the turmoil we see in our world today, there is a greater need than ever for the leadership of all of you who are a part of CLA. This is your time. You were called for this very moment!
Remember the Apostle Paul’s words: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8)
W. Scott Brown is vice president of leadership experiences and resources for Christian Leadership Alliance. He is also editor of Outcomes magazine, and Outcomes Online. He holds a B.S. from Liberty University, a M.A. in communications: journalism/public affairs from The American University, and a M.A. in liberal arts from St. John’s College. This post is an excerpt from the 2016 Spring edition of Outcomes Magazine.
Christian Leadership Alliance now offers a yearlong leadership experience where you can pursue excellence for God’s glory and purpose. It’s called Outcomes365 and you can learn more about it at www.Leadership.Bible. Enrollment is always open!