Leadership in the Global Church
During lunch yesterday, I got a call from ABC Columbia to do a brief interview about the present conclave to select the next pope for the Roman Catholic Church. It was an enjoyable conversation about how the popes have been selected by the college of cardinals since 1379 and how this particular election is unique because of the resignation of Benedict XVI. I am amazed how ten of minutes of video footage can be spliced into short sound bites (assuring me that I have no future in journalism or politics).
When asked about what part of the world the next pope would come from, I related that the church would probably follow tradition and elect a leader from Europe. I hope I'm wrong though and it would be great if one of the non-Western front runners--two from Brazil, one from Ghana, and one from the Philippines--would be seriously considered. Why? Because the majority of the world's Christians--Catholic, Protestant, or Independent--are from the Global South or Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The leadership of the church ought to reflect these global realities.
As an evangelical Protestant, my prayer is that the leadership of our evangelical churches, denominations, missions, and seminaries would also reflect this majority world reality. But it means being deliberate. It means that North American and European leaders must be deliberately humble and seek to cultivate global leadership from the majority world and, then, we must trust them and follow their leadership. I was very encouraged to hear this week that Operation Mobilization has named Lawrence Tong of Singapore to be just the third international leader in its history. Of course, many new missions and churches are springing up organically in the non-Western world allowing us in the West to pray for, encourage, and appropriately partner in ministry.
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