In 8 months, the Church of the Nazarene will be electing two new General Superintendents at the General Assembly in Indianapolis. What kind of leaders do we need? Here’s my attempt to describe the perfect General Superintendent (GS).
The next G.S. must be like…
1. The James Webb Space Telescope. This telescope has caught a glimpse of Earendel, the most distant star known in the universe. We need a leader that can see things far, far away and use that knowledge to help navigate our future.
2. The 1915 Çanakkale Bridge. Located in Turkey, this is the longest suspension bridge in the world. The Church of the Nazarene needs a leader who can bridge the divide between boomers and Gen Zers; Pure Wesleyans and American Holiness Movement adherents; USA/Canada and the rest of the world; allies and partners; liturgy and Pentecostalism-ish; first world and third world; NBC and NTS; black and white; English and non-English and every other gap in our church. Is there a person alive who can bridge all these gaps? Probably not, but wouldn’t it be nice if there were such a leader.
3. Tesla. The automobile company is known for innovation. The Church of the Nazarene sometimes feels like a 1957 Studebaker. An out-of-date jalopy that looks nice in museums but can’t keep up with today’s technology or life in the modern world. We need innovative leaders not people who get elected and quickly fall into the same systems, biases and mindsets.
4. Breville Juice Fountain Cold Plus Juicer. This machine is purported to be the best machine for squeezing juice out of a lemon. The Church of the Nazarene will need such tenacity as dollars dry up from old, dying churches in the USA/Canada. With the aging USA/Canada church supplying 94% (at least) of the World Evangelism Funds (WEF), the new GS will need to squeeze as much missional life out of each dollar raised.
5. Graphene. This is the strongest substance known to mankind. In these challenging times, we need strong leaders. Stronger than ever. These new leaders need to know who we are and why we are the way we are; then have the strength to articulate this at District Assemblies, pastor’s gatherings, various mission fields and in all publications.
All of the aforementioned items are new (or new-ish). The Church of the Nazarene facing the future needs an equally fresh renewal. We need new ideas, new methods, as we preach Jesus and make Christ-like disciples. But above all the landmarks and gadgets, let’s elect the most Jesus-like ordained elders we could possibly find. This individual might not be leading a great church, region or institution, instead we find him/her feeding the hungry, caring for the outcast, and loving the unlovable. Let’s locate the elder who seems the most likely to wash the feet of a traitor and notice the pennies of a widow. Let’s pray for a leader who waits by the road longing for the long, lost ones and shows mercy to the curmudgeons who have stuck around brooding. Pray that we find, elect and give the keys to 17001 Prairie Star Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas to leaders who look a lot like Jesus.