Godly leadership for Mayor L061

As I sat in the gloom of the fading light of our convent accommodation in the city of Butembo, Congo, waiting for the generator to kick in and 3 precious hours of electricity be provided, I contemplated the news that the Mayor of Butembo had requested us to bring some leadership training to his staff 2 days later on the Monday morning. I was quite unprepared for this

We had arrived on the Saturday evening after a long dusty, hot and bumpy 9 hour road drive from Uganda. We were tired but glad to have arrived without incident. We were due to preach in two different churches the following day and time to prepare for this opportunity with the Mayor were limited.

With God’s help I began to put together what was more like a full on preach for the Mayors office, than a politically correct sanitised package of leadership wisdom. As I prepared, it seemed clearer and clearer that they needed to understand that it was righteousness that would lift up a city or nation, and that godly values were the only ones that would attract the blessing of God and pull a city like Butembo out of its poverty and chaos.

In the end it became a much larger affair than I could have ever imagined, with the mayor, deputy-mayor and about 100 of their staff sitting outside the mayor’s offices, waiting for my presentation. There was a TV camera man and radio reporter under my nose as I gave my address through our trusty interpreter Rostand Mana (who heads up YWAM in Congo).

The crowd were attentive, but nothing could have prepared me for the Mayor’s response. He not only affirmed all that ‘the man of God’ had said, but he publicly repented on behalf of the nation and city for all its corruption and partiality. He was effectively laying down the gauntlet to bribery and discrimination. He was potentially making himself vulnerable to the wealthy power brokers in the city who operate by bribery all the time (note to self – must pray for mayor’s protection). He received many nods of agreement and even a round of applause for his stand and bravery.

I thought about all this when I got back to the UK and heard about Liverpool’s own Mayoral election. I wondered if my points for the Mayor of Butembo, might just be relevant for the first elected Mayor of Liverpool. So what did I say? What kind of leadership is needed?

1. Leadership that embodies the character of Christ – ultimately only available from having the spirit of Christ living in us. I was reminded of Jim Collin’s description of level 5 leadership in his book ‘Good to Great’. He defines this highest level of leadership as being a combination of ‘professional will and personal humility’. Sounds like Jesus to me.
2. Leadership that honours God by a) thanking God for all his blessings, b) asking for his wisdom in every issue faced, and c) welcoming wisdom and biblical insight from men and women of God in the city. I guess this might just mean prayer in the council chamber.
3. Leadership that maintains its integrity. This will fly in the face of any culture of cronyism, impartiality or corruption. It means doing what is right, not necessarily what is expedient.
4.Leadership that leads by example. Leaders will inspire and motivate others by living sacrificially. People want to follow, but they have high standards and are not easily fooled by spin or image.
5. Leadership that leads from a servant heart. People are fed up with self-serving leaders. They are looking for a different model and people who are worthy of respect. It’s all about the issue of what motivates us in our leadership.
6. Leadership that is generous. Generosity is at the heart of God and immediately attracts his blessing. It will gradually challenge and change a culture from one of ‘what can I get’? to one of ‘what can I give?’
7. Leadership that remembers the poor. Loving justice means not only helping the poor with an immediate hand-out, but with a longer term hand-up. The poor are always on God’s heart. And it’s what we were commissioned for – to preach (and be) good news to the poor (Luke 4:18).
8. Leadership that can communicate a compelling vision. Founded on the character issues that are mentioned above, there needs to be an ability to see and communicate a compelling and convincing picture of the future. It’s what people will buy into and give their all to.
9. Leadership that doesn’t give up. When it comes to rebuilding a city, it takes a long term perspective to achieve anything. As the saying goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. We need politicians who will think of the next generation, not just the next election.

So I wonder what the next Mayor of Liverpool would think about that? Perhaps when we get the chance to meet the candidates at the hustings we can ask them!

This entry was posted by nic on Friday, March 30th, 2012 at 5:05 pm and is filed under Leadership. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Jackie Hodson says:

    I love this story.It reminds me of a verse in Samuel-King David’s last words ,that used to pray for DRCongo
    When one rules over people in righteousness,
    when he rules in the fear of God,
    4 he is like the light of morning at sunrise
    on a cloudless morning,
    like the brightness after rain
    that brings grass from the earth.’
    May God help this Mayor to rule righteously and raise up Godly leadership in the UK.

    Look forward to seeing the tv footage!

  2. nic harding says:

    great Scripture Jackie, thanks

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