I humbly stand before the presence of God and in the midst of the members of many witnesses of this called body, The Praise Ministries International, Inc. I want to take this time to recognize the members of the Pastorate, members of the Administrative body, members of the departmental wings, deacons and deaconesses, and distinguished ladies and gentlemen. We live in the world that is full of challenges and impregnated with uncertainties and evidences are seen through the decline of leaderships to adequately address the problems faced by the universal church of Christ with reference to morality, integrity, accountability, obedience, evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and mission. That’s being said, leadership has enormous tasks before her to address these multiplicities of problems engulfing the kingdom of God and it will take leadership that is technically competent, adaptively competent, and relationally congruence to alleviate the effects of these problems that are predictors to Christian stewardship in the rapidly changing church world. This calls for asymmetric approach in leadership to solve the uncommon problems in the uncharted territory of the rapidly changing world. In conjunction to this changing dynamics in church leadership, I want to speak on the subject, “How Can One Navigate the Uncharted Territory in this Rapidly Changing World”?
We live in the world that is changing rapidly with reference to dominant cultural practices that pose enormous threats to Christianity, the renaissance of ideologies in biblical worldviews, the birth of relativism, the issues of moral breakdown in our Christian society, injustice, inequality and the lack of respect for human life.
These cultural shifts and practices come from people of multiethnic, intercultural, and multicultural identities; therefore, this calls for understanding cultural diversities in these environments as the leader who has been called to lead is crucial. Understanding cultural diversities and cultural competence is crucial for leadership success in the multiethnic, intercultural, and multicultural environments. How can a leader navigate in the uncharted territory in this rapidly changing world? As we take a trip in this conversation, this question will have been answered in the order of its importance. In this deliberation, I will discuss three factors that a leader will need to navigate the uncharted territory in the rapidly changing church world in the contextualization of the leadership arena to solve asymmetric problems in the church. In order for the leader to navigate the uncharted territory in this rapidly changing world full of uncertainties, the emergent leader should be technically competent to lead. He or she might have received prior formal or informal training in leadership to be prepared to lead in the uncharted territory. The emergent leader is anticipated to be expert, the team leader, the achiever, the smartest, the mobilizer, or the vision caster. The emergent leader who is technically competent should be a visionary leader that sees the future and plans to achieve the dream in order to affect the membership of the organization in term of nurturing, inspiring, modeling, and making sure that individual member of the organization plays his or her roles by virtue of his or her position with the aim to furthering the shared values and core beliefs of the organization in order to accomplish the organizational mission. Not only should the emergent leader be technically competent, but the emergent visionary leader should be adaptive to solve problems in the rapidly changing church world in the uncharted territory because there will be adaptive challenges posed in the multiethnic, intercultural, and multicultural church setting that will require adaptive leadership approach. Adaptive approach does not call for fixing the problem immediately, but it is the period that the leaders allow themselves to be shaped by God through experience. Adaptive leadership approach is the approach that allows learning to have root in the lives of the leadership and congregational members. Leader who wants transformation and growth in his or her life cannot escape this adaptive approach in leadership. Have you ever raised 1000 congregations in church attendance on Sunday and after six months, the membership dropped to 300 congregations in attendance? After facing the challenge and you tend to put strategies into place and nothing worked to solve the existing problem in membership increment. Everything in your leadership arena has become static and nothing is working despite the effort you have made. The very worst scenario is that people are still leaving the church daily despite of all the efforts you have made. What should you do as the leader? The leader must adapt to the changing situation. God might have allowed this situation to shape the leadership. When we as leaders encounter adaptive challenge, we should adapt to the changing situation. We must remain hanging there and intentionally refuse to fix the problem. We might not have the solution to the existing problem because God allows such problem so we can adapt to adaptive challenges. When we adapt to adaptive challenges in the ministry, we learn from experience and we will be prepared to handle bigger problems in the future. This adaptive challenge is the period of discontinuous change that requires reactive zonal approach in congregational mission leadership model. This is the situation when the upper performative zone cultures are insufficient to navigate in the new environment. Leaders must adapt to allow God to shape them. If an individual refuses to be prepared by God during adaptive challenge, he or she cannot be used to navigate in the uncharted territory in this rapidly changing church environment. During adaptive challenge, leaders learn through observations, interpretations, and applying interventions to the existing problems in order to gradually remedy the leadership problems. Such problem solving is not being done overnight. God is the one who should control the wheel as the leadership adapts to the changing prevailing situations. Not only should the emergent leader adapt to the rapidly changing church world in the uncharted territory, but the emergent leader should also be relationally congruent in the rapidly changing dynamics of leadership. To be relational congruent is to be the person who the leader is to God and self. This is the time of the exercise of character formation, integrity, faithfulness in the service to God and the church, and obedience to the word of God that has been developed, cultivated, and matured during technical competent skills development and adaptive challenge. At the core of transformational leadership are technical competence, adaptive leadership, and relational congruence; therefore, the three complement the transforming leader who is prepared to face the unknown problem that can only be solved through capacity approach. The tendency for God to use the leader is directly proportional to God shaping the leader for his use. Leaders are clay in the hand of the potter, who is God. In the period of shaping the leader, God has adequately equipped him or her. If God has equipped the leader, he can trust the leader by virtue of his evaluation of the leader. Pastors, lay leaders, members, and distinguished ladies and gentlemen, God is calling us as leaders to navigate the unmapped territory of leadership in the rapidly changing world; therefore, are you technically competent, adaptively responsible, and relationally congruent to lead this generations in our time? Having answered this question, I want to let you know that God is looking for the transformational leader to do the job and I believe you are the leader who can do this job. The church will not change for the better unless the leader is transformed. At the heart of technical competence, adaptive leadership, and relational congruence, lies the transformational leadership. Are you a transformed leader? If you are, you are prepared for change; then, you are the agent of change God is looking for in this rapidly changing world. May God bless the leadership of Praise Ministries International and make her to be the agent of change in this rapidly changing church world. I thank you!