Many believe that the next generation of Christian leaders has
unprecedented opportunities to complete the Great Commission. I agree.
But I believe those who desire to successfully appropriate these
opportunities must fit the following profile.
First, the new leaders must achieve their highest potential in body,
mind and spirit. No longer enslaved to self-destructive habits and
world-conforming thought patterns, their physical “temples,” ways of
thinking and compelling motivations will be continuously informed by
the presence of the Holy Spirit. They will care for their bodies
through diet, rest and exercise.
They will ensure that their thinking is transformed by the Word
rather than conformed to the world’s values. With their bodies offered
as living sacrifices and minds renewed, they will “prove what is that
good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2, NKJV).
These leaders must be wholly Christ’s and, as a result, His holy
bride—a “peculiar [set-apart] people” laying hold of the sacred
responsibility to be a “chosen generation” and a “royal priesthood” (1
Pet. 2:9, KJV). They will serve as salt and light because they refuse
“to fulfill the lust of the flesh” and are filled with the Holy
Spirit’s fruit of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:16-23).
Second, these leaders must be guided by the Holy Spirit in
initiating a positive, practical and respectful dialogue with the world
about the implications of Christ’s claims. They will take seriously
their mission to transform the world’s cultures. They will speak the
truth in love—holding uncompromisingly to biblically anchored
convictions with one hand while freely extending the broken bread and
the cup of salvation with the other.
Third, the new leaders must connect intimately to the purposes of
God with relation to creation. Liberated from selfishness, they will
possess an understanding of their roles as stewards of all God has
created and will embrace the responsibility to care for it, recognizing
that their Father’s world is filled with potential to reveal His nature
and plan of redemption.
However, this commitment to be the earth’s stewards will not deflect
them from the obligation to the dignity and sanctity of human life.
They will not only promote the right to life but also champion a
quality of life worthy of those for whom God’s Son paid the ultimate
Committed to life’s sanctity and dignity, they will be motivated by
the great commandment to address poverty, illness, exploitation,
discrimination and oppression in the world. They will possess a burden
for those who are denied the basics of life’s opportunities.
They will be driven to resolve meaningless human suffering by
understanding, going, teaching, serving, loving and, if necessary,
dying. And they will not be timid as they demonstrate the gifts and
graces of the Holy Spirit needed to do the impossible for the glory of
In summary, these 21st century Christian leaders must live and serve
in ways that reflect the major biblical themes of justice, mercy and
humility (see Mic. 6:8). Having experienced justification, they will
long to see justice achieved for others.
The justice they demand, however, will be saturated with the mercy
that has been extended to them in Christ—offered with the humility that
acknowledges that except for God’s grace they too would be under
judgment. The quest for justice, mercy and humility will be the
irrefutable proofs of the transformation that comes when minds, hearts
and hands are whole and holy to serve God’s purposes in the world.
Several current Christian leaders are suggesting that we may be in
the final lap of the human race. Several are sensing a new Spirit
blowing as the next generation of Christian leaders steps into the
arena. May they embrace the disciplines of wholeness and holiness as
they stand to declare, “Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!”
David Gyertson, Ph.D., is
Distinguished Professor of Leadership Formation and Renewal at Regent
University’s School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship. He
hosts Canadian Edition, a weekly version of The 700 Club, shown coast to coast
in Canada. Gyertson has been president of three Christian universities
and senior pastor of Methodist and Presbyterian congregations. In
addition to his consulting and executive coaching work, he publishes
and speaks frequently on a wide range of ministry, leadership and