There is a lot of conversation lately about what are admirable qualities of a leader. In Christian circles, the conversations are even more intense when we add in the question of what a leader should and shouldn’t be if they are a follower of Jesus. I am not going to jump into the discussion at this time except to point out that qualities of leadership matter. Food for the Hungry has long understood that leaders are an important catalyst for impact with in their communities.
It is front and center in our mission statement.
Food for the Hungry walks with churches, LEADERS and families in overcoming all forms of human poverty by living in healthy relationship with God and His creation.
Leaders are important. They have an important role to play in ending poverty in the hardest places. Here are five reasons why we think “walking with leaders” is essential to making a sustainable impact in the lives of the most vulnerable
1) Biblical worldview needs to be exhibited
Core to the way Food for the Hungry seeks to serve the most vulnerable is belief in a concept called Biblical Worldview. We believe that all people should have a healthy understanding of God, self, others and God’s creation. We are convinced that having a healthy biblical worldview is like fertile soil is to a seed. An essential catalyst ripe for flourishing. But a biblical worldview cannot simply be taught, it most be exhibited. Food for the Hungry walks with leaders, in their prominent and influential position, to help them see the value of exhibiting biblical worldview in the way they conduct themselves. That demonstrating is the message itself. It sets the tone and expectation for those whom they lead.
2) Representing the Whole
Whether through democratic processes or not, a leader is often expected to represent a group of people. They are asked to make decisions that impact more than just themselves but an entire community. Food for the Hungry works to support leaders in understanding their responsibilities. In particular, leaders of vulnerable communities must seek to ensure the health, safety and opportunity of families and children. The future of the community’s prosperity lies with them. Therefore as a representative of those who can’t represent themselves, indeed the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable, it is important that leaders pay special attention to the “least of these.”
3) Keeping Track of the Big Picture
Much like the CEO of a company, or a principal, or a president, a leader must keep track of a vast array of priorities, opportunities and decisions. They must keep a “big picture” mindset. This is a challenging discipline when the urgencies of today make it difficult to think about tomorrow, let alone beyond. Food for the Hungry walks with leadership in developing and maintaining a long-term development plan. These 10-12 year plans seek to ensure that a community is sustainably supporting itself and fostering more opportunity so that the next generation can thrive!
4) A Position of Accountability
At the onset of Food for the Hungry’s work with a community, a community development plan is decided upon with local leaders and families. Then it becomes a matter of accountability to execute that plan. Leaders hold the keys to making sure a community stays on course for their development. FH is completely devoted to the idea that a community must OWN their development. In order for a community to “graduate” once their community development plan is completed, there must be accountability.
5) The Bible says so
We know that the Bible tells us God appoints leaders for communities and organizations. That leaders hold an important position in society. But the Bible also says volumes about how those leaders should conduct themselves. FH supports local leaders to live out Philippians 2:3-4:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
We believe that the leader who follows this principle is who God had in mind when he commissioned their role in culture and society.
Leaders are important people by nature of their position. But good leadership is a discipline that has the power to make an impact far beyond a given constituency. Food for the Hungry is committed to raising up humble, Kingdom-minded, respectful leaders, and walking with them as they lead vulnerable communities to end poverty together.