This three part study is written using the book, Just Leadership, as a guide for the themes and concepts. TBN UK commissioned a TV series around this book where the authors, Simon Barrington and Justin Humphreys, interviewed Christian Leaders about the issues of justice. As part of this study, each week, we will be watching a short video, taken from the TV series, which gives an overview on the topic for discussion and then commence a deep dive with some questions to aide discussion.
See the whole TV series by clicking on the link below.
In this session we look at the first section of the book entitled JUST. If we want to lead with justice at the heart, we need to recognise that it begins with understanding who God is and then understanding that our leadership and identity is rooted in God and reflective of God. We also need to have relationship and relate to each other to lead with justice.
Jesus left us in no doubt that justice was at the heart if his ministry. It couldn’t be clearer. We don’t have to read into parables or interpret stories; it’s there in his own words, as he echoes the justice call of the prophets and proclaims that today this prophecy comes to fruition.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Justice is a huge theme of what Jesus said – centring around his teachings on love – love for God and neighbour, love that reaches across social boundaries, love even for enemies.
Justice is also a huge theme in what Jesus did. From birth to his death, Jesus lived with victims of injustice, and he was a victim of injustice.
Rosalee Velloso Ewell, Director of Church Relations, United Bible Societies, explains that the health of the Church today is modelled on how the ‘lowest’ are doing. If they are not doing well, then something is wrong. Jesus went about his ministry embodying justice. He did just things, such as healing and feeding the people and he reflected the love and care of the Father. In the society in which he lived, this meant that some people did not like him – it made them uncomfortable. Jesus invited the outsiders in, invited the gentiles to a seat at the table and this angered the status quo and the pharisees. Jesus crossed boundaries, in the name of justice.
Our story has a huge impact on how we lead – not just others but ourselves. Some experiences of life shape us rather than define us. We are led to want change because we have experienced a situation where we may have seen or experienced pain and therefore have a passion to see the change required. To lead justly takes self-awareness, self-intelligence, and an ability to be transformed by the renewing of our minds that only comes from a relationship and intimacy with Jesus. By allowing the grace of God to break our hearts or what breaks His we can align our leadership motivations for God’s glory.
This means I am because we are. What impact does my leadership have on others? We are not isolated and alone, we are in relationship with others. We are called to be relational because God is relational, in all aspects of our lives. We are made in the image of God, thus also called to be relational. In leadership it is important to have a common purpose with those around us. Justice requires partnership, even though we have individual agendas. If we can breakdown the barriers of structure, systems, and process and get to the people underneath we have a better chance of achieving real change and justice.
Leroy Logan MBE, former Chair of the Metropolitan Police Black Police Association, speaks about how he found people to walk alongside him in his journey. He said if it were not for his family and close friends, he would not have continued in what he was doing. To know that your heart and motivations are understood is key in the fight against injustice.