Bill Hybels is talking now, and just said (slightly paraphrasing): “This conference is unapologetically Christian. Yet, when it comes to who we invite to teach, we seek to learn from everybody — people in the church, people in the business world, people leading in all walks of life.” (The first interesting paradox, by the way, is why Christians don’t just act and do, but also worship — see the previous post.)
I think he’s reflecting here something true and essential for Christian leadership. First, if we are Christians, we need to lead as Christians. We need to think about leadership from a Christian perspective and lead for the good of others and glory of God.
Second, we need to be willing to learn about leadership from all people, not just Christians. There is some really solid and helpful and true teaching on leadership outside the church. Christians should not neglect that. It is a matter of humility to say “I’m going to learn what I need to learn from any source that is speaking truth and making helpful, winsome, solid observations.” And the speakers that are invited to the Summit reflect some of the best of this thinking, both inside and outside the church.
Some might be skeptical about the value of Christians learning about leadership from non-Christians. But let me just list three theological reasons that it is right and necessary and helpful to learn about leadership from non-Christians as well as Christians:
- The doctrine of vocation affirms the validity and helpfulness of the insight and work of people in all areas of life, both Christian and non-Christian. The issue is whether something is true.
- The doctrine of common grace affirms that there is truth in creation that is accessible and discernable to believers as well as unbelievers. To deny that Christians can learn about leadership from non-Christians is to unwittingly deny the doctrine of common grace.
- The Summit isn’t inviting non-Christians to teach theology. I’m not saying we should look to non-Christians to teach the Bible. But, in accord with the doctrines of vocation and common grace, there is value in learning from non-Christians about life and the world, and this includes leadership. We need to think through everything from a biblical point of view, but we shouldn’t commit the genetic fallacy by rejecting something just because the person who came up with the idea or made the observation is not a Christian.