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One of the most important roles in a city-community is the civic leader.  He or she leads the local government through various positions to serve the community.

As Christians, civic leaders partner with churches in a lot of different ways – putting on community service projects, chaplain programs, life-rebuilding programs, and more.  They help each other through the sharing of resources, and network connections.

Government leaders are chosen by God to be authorities in the cities.  And it is their responsibility to make sure that the people receive justice, protection, and care.

But it takes a uniquely gifted person to become a civic leader.  There a few very important things that someone must have in order to do this special task in a way which pleases God:

Be a Go-Getter

balloons girlYou gotta be able to get stuff done.

There are plenty of politicians (and leaders of all sorts, for that matter) who do a lot of talking, but not a lot of actual change.  That’s not what you want to do.

You gotta be decisive and action-oriented.  You have to have a thick-skin, because every decision you make will help many, but will incite anger in a handful, as well.

Devotion to Good Works

If you’re getting into civic leadership for any other reason than a desire to better serve your neighbors, then you’re in it for the wrong reason.

Behind every decision has to lie a devotion to good works which will benefit the people of your community.  Every program, policy, community center, historic site conservation, nature conservation, every single area of the city that you impact – all of it has to be done to better take care of the people.

In other words, you have to love those under your care.

You have to love those under your care. #government Click To Tweet

Ability to Persuade

Photo credit: cliff1066™ via Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: cliff1066™ via Foter.com / CC BY

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

You have to learn the skill of persuasion – explaining a vision to an individual or a group in a way that makes them want to participate, makes them want to give their all in service of the vision.

This is not manipulation.  To lead a city, you have to be able to persuade people to see why your goals serve them, as well as their community.

Knack for Networking

You gotta know people to make anything happen.

This is one of the more difficult aspects of becoming ready to be a civic leader.  Most people want to use their free time binge-watching Breaking Bad or developing a hobby or any other selfish (even if it’s good) pursuit.  But if you want to have influence in the city, you’ve gotta hustle to get to know the other people who are getting things done.

You’ve got to be able to utilize relationships with other influential people so you can garner resources and manpower.  But you’ve also got to be able to connect others with those influential people so that resources can be funneled to the right groups.

So pull up your bootstraps and go after it. #leadership Click To Tweet

Think Biblically

Most of us Christians are familiar with the term “systematic theology”.  But I’m of the opinion that we don’t use it correctly in our time.

Systematic theology is used to develop doctrines based on scientifically sorting through all verses in the Bible which pertain to any given question we have.

We generally tend to use systematic theology for 3 functions – only 2 of which should actually be emphasized, and if you can guess from the topic sentence of this section, my contention is that we emphasize the wrong one.

Here’s what I mean (and I promise, I’m getting to how this applies to civic leaders):

(1)  We use systematic theology to develop essential doctrines, such as Christology, Theology Proper, Ecclesiology, Hamartiology, soteriology, and more.  This is a good one, and it should be emphasized.

(2)  We use systematic theology to develop non-essential doctrines, such as the order of events of the end times, doctrines of angels and demons, free-will or predestination, and more.  It’s not that this is a bad function, as it helps us to understand our individual faiths.  But it is bad to emphasize this, since all it does is unnecessarily divides the church.  This is where I believe we wrongly spend most of our time.  Check out this article for more information.

(3)  This is the one where we must focus as civic leaders (or any kind of church or community leader for that matter).  This is where we use systematic theology to develop what we call Theology in Culture.  Instead of finding answers to questions that pertain to the culture of the time of Scholasticism and the Enlightenment (as in point (2)), we should find answers to questions that our culture is asking.

bible2So what we normally do is spend time researching what controversies have existed in the past 300 years about the End Times, for example.  Then we begin asking whether the rapture will be before or after the Tribulation.  Then we build a theology, and then we tell others that they’re not Christians if they don’t agree with us (Hyperbole, of course).

But what we should be doing is spending time learning about the hearts and minds of our own people in our own time – our own culture.  We have to understand the issues, not as Christians who are above those issues, but as members of the community who face real problems together.

For example, homosexuality is a real issue in our time.  As Christians and civic leaders, we have understand that even though the Scriptures are very clear that homosexuality is a sin, we can’t make our theology that simple.  No, we never promote the lifestyle, but we have to develop thorough ideology about what pains and hurts are involved in gender identity crisis, breakdown of the family, and same-sex attraction.  We must include in our theology the compassion of Christ and the ability to be restored through the gospel.

Civic leaders must be able to deal with real issues with the Scriptures, without being unrealistic, uncompassionate or unable to listen.

So Go Get ‘Em

So pull up your bootstraps and go after it.  If God has gifted you to be a civic leader, do it.

It is how you’ll take care of your community, love your neighbors, and advance God’s Kingdom.

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