The Journey of Leadership

It is no secret that we are still facing tough times. Polarization and our ability to get along remains a constant challenge. The war in Ukraine has awakened us to the realities of our international connectedness. We are still navigating a pandemic. Spin a globe and if you put your finger down on any country, you will find difficulty there.

At the Global Leadership Network (GLN), we serve and minister in more than 110 countries around the world. I can attest that our global partners presently face leadership obstacles that would make most of us want to quit. As a leader in the church, in ministry or in other environments, you may have felt the same way. The struggle and strain of leadership—is it worth it?

Through The Global Leadership Summit (GLS), GLN has a vision of inspiring and equipping world-class leadership that ignites transformation. We see businesses that are working for good, communities that are being transformed, and churches that are thriving. Personally, it has been a privilege to have a front-row seat to how God has used leaders around the world to bring change, healing and restoration in the midst of turmoil.

Our conviction is that everyone has influence, and that includes you. We are committed to helping pastors, ministry leaders, business leaders, teachers, nonprofit leaders, essential workers and other Christ followers use their influence for kingdom purposes and to help bring hope to our world.

Our calling is to help raise up leaders who can tackle the problems that we see all around us today. What do these leaders look like?

Leaders with Humility, Vision and Passion

We don’t need more self-focused or personality-driven leaders. The need is for humble leaders with vision from God for the good of others. Leadership is less about privilege and more about responsibility. Armed with visionary conviction, those who are called to influence are able to engage in bringing transformation. Lethargic leaders don’t change the order of things.

Julius Msheliza is a pastor in northern Nigeria serving in the area where Boko Haram has been active. Sitting in a GLS, he received a prompting from God to invite his friends and family on his 50th birthday to help support 50 widows who had lost their husbands and older sons through the actions of Boko Haram. Msheliza lived out this grander vision in a way that provided food for families as well as startup capital for these women to launch new businesses that could provide in the future, and also the freedom for their children to go back to school, breaking the cycle of poverty.

Leaders Committed to Continuous Growth

Growing and learning are constant developmental steps in the life of a leader. Following a life and faith conversion to Jesus Christ, leaders often experience an additional conversion or calling in responding to the issues that are prevalent around us. God convicts leaders to address these different causes in ways that form and transform the heart.

Leadership is a journey that evolves and expands over time as we are confronted with problems that call out to us to be addressed. These can come around global poverty, the refugee crisis, racial reconciliation, children with special needs or those who are incarcerated. I can point to specific events and times in my life when God interrupted and set me on a new leadership growth trajectory as part of my ongoing development.

Leaders Who Can Handle Complexity

If we have learned anything over the last two-plus years, it is that life and leadership have increased in their level of complexity. It seemed there was never enough information to make a decision and decision-making was demanded without seeing the impact or results of previous decisions.

We entered a time when there was a connection between compassion, justice and politics. Churches are good at compassion, but some problems are entrenched and need legal solutions, calling for justice, and may even require radical solutions, invoking governmental response. Trying to decide where love should be exercised, where justice should be pursued, and where public cooperation is required, increased the complexity levels faced by leaders who were involuntarily cast into the fray.

Leaders From Every Sector of Society

At the Global Leadership Network, our commitment is to the church and the hope the body of Christ can bring to our world today. We journey together with pastors and ministry leaders to provide training that helps them help others as they live out their faith and lead in Jesus’ name. Over a number of years, we have seen those who participate in the Global Leadership Summit grow to include church volunteers as well as leaders in business, education and government. Every sector of society is taking a fresh look at how to engage in our complicated, changing world. We need leaders in the game who are able to bring their own unique contribution for the good of all of us.

Leaders Who Embrace Diversity

So many of the problems we face today stem from people who cannot embrace others. Unfortunately, we allow our differences to drive us apart or create distance in our relationships. We are all made in the image of God, and Christ’s command to us is to love one another, bringing unity over disconnection or discord.

Solutions are needed that rise above a monocultural perspective. Instead, effective leaders seek biblical solutions to help all people to flourish as God’s people and who love all people as God loves.  Leaders who can provide environments where we can come together and express our uniqueness while reflecting our unity in Christ will offer bastions of blessings that many, both inside and outside the church, are longing for.

Leaders for the Long Haul

At the Global Leadership Network, we engage in long-term relationships with partners in the U.S. and around the world. We take an enduring and eternal perspective on the investment we make for ministry and the work of the church globally.

Our efforts are commitments to raise up leaders who have generational impact, and who themselves are committed to serving Christ and his church over multiple years or decades. It is an incredible blessing to see partners who invest themselves in their churches, their communities and their countries to see ministry multiplied exponentially and leaders who are bearing fruit that will last.

A Transformational Partnership

The Global Leadership Network and Outreach magazine share a passion for pastors and the church. We are committed to growing healthy leaders who offer hope and help in relevant and compelling ways. In each issue, look for fresh, actionable and inspiring leadership insight and encouragement that can be immediately effective in your context. There will be articles and insights that come from me and from our world-class faculty. Our hope and prayer is that God will continue to use you to ignite transformation in our world at this moment and in this time for God’s glory.

Tom De Vries is the president and CEO of the Global Leadership Network.