Great Stories, Leadership, Resources

Context is King

When I work with students in our high school leadership program one of the things we talk about at some length is the challenge of figuring out the context in which each of us can be at our best; and how to respond when reality doesn’t match our ideal. The thing that truly excellent mentors can do for us is help us understand ourselves and make sense of the world in which we pursue our dreams. 100 years ago today one of the most important thinkers I’ve ever read was born. Sadly, far too few of us know him or his work. Lesslie Newbigin returned to his native England at age 66 after 35 years of mission work in India. What he found shocked him, and led him into an unanticipated second career, teaching the Western church to consider the reality of their context rather than simply assuming that the cultural advantage they’d held for generations was permanent and static. Since his death in 1998 his writings have gained traction and his vision has begun to be realised. For an excellent review of his life and significance read this. For one of the best books a Christian leader can experience read this. Leaders must ask: What is the reality surrounding us? How is it changing? What assumptions are no longer valid?