This year I have been writing about the character traits and skills of effective missional community leaders. I wrote about missional leaders being proactive, hospitable, generous, available, attentive, persevering, and holy. This post will look at how missional leaders are kind.
of a good or benevolent nature and disposition, as a person
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
II Timothy 2:24
Missional leaders are not easily drawn into conflict because they are not trying to win arguments. They know that only God can change a person’s heart, so they don’t try to argue people into the Kingdom.
They avoid tangental topics that lead to debates and focus on the simple gospel. When there is disagreement about the gospel, they patiently respond with kindness as described in the second part of the verse.
Kind to Everyone
Missional leaders are kind to everyone. They are able to have conversations where there is disagreement, but do so in a way that is not quarrelsome. Communication is about much more than what is being said. What’s more important is how something is said.
Kindness is the ability to make people feel loved, cared for, and understood even in the midst of disagreement. Kindness is the ability to show an emotional connection to the person no matter what the topic of conversation.
Able To Teach
Missional leaders are able to explain the gospel clearly. They know how to address the common false beliefs of their culture. Mostly, they know the Bible and are able to explain it.
Those who explain the gospel best have learned to do so by making mistakes. They do not get down on themselves when they stumble in conversation, say something wrong, or forget to ask an important question. Instead, they learn from their mistakes and grow to be better and better communicators of the gospel.
Missional leaders do not harbor bad feelings against those who disagree with them, even if their friends are rude to them. They are able to stay in close relationship with people whom they disagree with.
There is a psychological term called “differentiation of self.” It is described as ones ability to balance community and individuality. Missional leaders are able to be an individual (state their opinions and hold to what they believe to be true) and be in community (remain relationally close to individuals who think differently than they do).
Justin Christopher is the National Campus Director for Campus Renewal Ministries and the author of Campus Renewal: A Practical Plan for Uniting Campus Ministries in Prayer and Mission. He facilitates CRM’s Partnering Campus Network and also gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the missional community movement at the University of Texas.