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The Conspiracy of Silence… The Leader’s Biggest Mistake

Leaders across the church…not all leaders but plenty of leaders, women and men, denominational officials, pastors, God-fearing leaders…they don’t speak up and define: Here’s our reality. Here’s what this means. Here’s the big challenge in front of us. Maybe because they…

“When you put a name on your reality you now have the capacity to do something about it.” -Gail Ficken

  • Have no solution
  • Feel like they’re failing
  • Drive their personal agenda at the expense of the ministry or those they lead
  • ”If people really knew” they’d never stay loyal to our ministry/me/us
  • OR…they abdicate the hard task and kick the can down the road to an unsuspecting successor

1000 Young Leaders is a response to the church’s reality of the absence in our congregations of the largest adult generation in America.

It’s an attempt, if God so enables, to provide rocket fuel for your congregation to engage a mission field that bears the names of many of our own sons and daughters and grandchildren! Releasing the baptized people of God and allowing the Spirit to work through the Word.
Watch the video below. Watch all the videos.

Let me offer a personal illustration!

Gail and I spent 25 exceptional years in a multi-campus, church-planting congregation. Godly, (sometimes stubborn!) people who had been in love with their past and what they used to be while begrudging their current reality became an evangelistic, risk a lot, mission-focused community. Gail and I loved most of those years!
During that time the neighborhood around our urban site descended into a decade or so of brutal street gang warfare.
We had a problem. Big problem…that no one named.
There was a Conspiracy of Silence!

  • City leaders felt it bad public relations to call attention to our greatest problem.
  • Social service agencies and churches hunkered down alone.
  • I didn’t say much! I didn’t want our members to leave. Or parents to abandon our school.

You can say it: That was dumb!
It’s also easy to be “dumb” when you wrestle with…

  • Budget pressures
  • People’s expectations
  • Insular thinking

Interestingly, several things combined to slowly turn our community around over the next long…two steps forward, three steps back…decade.

  • A Pentecostal pastor and a Catholic priest (both friends of mine) began to publicly gather people to pray at the site of each murder. Intercede for grieving families. Implore God for intervention. Call the city to action.
  • City government, police, schools, churches, social service agencies began to trust each other and cooperate.
  • Law enforcement agencies cracked several “cold cases” and dominoes fell one after another.

Today, our former community is a much safer, better place to live!
….because some leaders stopped being silent and named our community’s biggest challenge.

“The first job of a leader is to define reality.” -Max DePree

Here are 3 questions!

  1. What’s the biggest challenge facing your congregation? Have you named it? Have you marshalled collective action?
  2. Back to that largest American mission field. How many 20’s and 30’s are in your church this Sunday? Count them. What do you think?
  3. Forward this to your board. Your team. Your group. Ask them what’s threatening our congregation?

It takes courage to lead like this! Thank you.
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