With each generation of leaders, comes a calling of bold leadership. Leaders who understand the times and know what to do. Passionate and courageous individuals who are willing to take a stand, have an opinion, push limits and do what hasn’t been been done before.
Being bold is a mindset. A dedicated work ethic to go beyond “what is,” and build toward, “what could be.”
It is about taking risk and showing courage.
And you may not believe this, but everyone has what it takes to be bold.
What does bold leadership look like?
Jackie Robinson, an American Baseball legend and a trailblazing pioneer of civil activism, was a prime example of pushing beyond usual norms. Robinson learned to navigate through racial discrimination as a four-sport letterman at UCLA and as a soldier who was honorably discharged from the Army. He went on to become the first African American to play Major League Baseball, forever changing the game as we know it. His number – 42 – is now a retired jersey for all MLB teams.
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
In a time of segregation, Robinson bravely spoke out against injustice and used his talent and opportunity as a platform to influence change.
Another bold leader looks very different than Jackie Robinson. Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, was shot in the face, neck and shoulders by the Taliban at the age of 15, for speaking out on young girls in education. At the age of 16, Yousafzai went back to school after being shot and continued to speak about equality in education. Two years later, she marked her 18th birthday by opening a secondary school for Syrian refugee girls. Malala is one of the boldest leaders of our time and an influence to people around the world, especially young girls.
“I don’t want to be remembered as the girl who was shot. I want to be remembered as the girl who stood up.”
In a time and place where the Taliban had taken over her home politically, socially and religiously, Malala still managed to keep a message of equality, peace and respect.
Why is bold leadership important?
At first glance, the disparities of Jackie Robinson and Malala Yousafzai are significant, but through the lens of bold, courageous and risk-taking leaders, the connection is evident. Both Robinson and Yousafzai used their passions and convictions as a guide for their vision and action in the pursuit of justice. Both stepped outside of their comfort zone and stood up for what they believed in.
The boldest leaders go Beyond Bold. Any scan of the news will find bold voices who test boundaries or use their power to oppress others. True leaders don’t only step out with strong opinions and conviction, but they are led by their deep compassion for others and a true desire for peace. Our world desperately needs these kinds of peacemakers today. Bold leaders who engage the needs of our day with conviction and compassion.
How do I step into bold leadership?
As we look around us, do you see bold leaders among you? How about when you look in the mirror?
You may not think of yourself as risky or courageous, but the truth is, God created all of us to stand firm, with conviction and compassion. The Bible is full of stories where ordinary men and women stepped out to become bold leaders. In fact, the stories of Abraham, Moses, Esther, Gideon, David, Ruth, Paul, and even the 12 disciples are all stories of God using ordinary people – unexpected people – to bring bold leadership and deeper peacemaking into the world.
In the book of Acts, Peter and John were called to stand before the Jewish council where they were asked under what power they cured the lame. Peter responded that he had done the good deed under the power and in the name of Jesus Christ. During this time, being a fisherman was not considered a serious or prestigious job. So for the crowd to hear that a mere fisherman had performed such a miracle and acted with such courage was almost unbelievable.
“The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.”
Though the people of that time would not have considered Peter to innately be bold, they recognized that he had done what most ordinary men did not: he spent time with Jesus. Peter and John learned from Christ, they broke bread with Christ and they were obedient in Christ’s teachings. This is what made them bold leaders of their time.
Being bold doesn’t mean you have to be a social activist, but it does call you to engage with social issues and discussions around them and live boldly in your everyday routine. In an article about bold recognition by Susan Krauss, she writes about the advantages of having an open mind and the willingness to explore new experiences. “Being open to new ideas and having imagination allows people to capitalize on their actual intellectual abilities.” Keeping an active mind allows for more opportunity to enter your life.
We are boldly called to seek Christ amidst our chaotic lives. This can be as simple as saying a prayer of gratitude every night before bed or looking at scripture to help us tackle conflicting issues. Being bold is to be authentic, to ask for help when you need it, to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to engage in deep connections with people, to speak up in unjust situations, to learn from failure and to be compassionate in convicting times and outside social norms.
Going Beyond Bold
This fall, we invite you to be our guest at our annual fundraiser event, where we will dive deeper into what it means to be a bold, courageous and confident leaders. We hope you can joins us!
Click here to learn more information about our Fall Fundraiser
“Founded in 1999 with the input of local pastors, the ICUL exists as a place where theology meets the streets – an urban “L’Abri” where students (and a broader community of leaders) wrestle with life and urban issues. We seek to develop leaders who – like the tribe of Issachar – “understand the times and know what God’s people should do.” (1 Chron 12:32)
The Issachar Center equips student apprentices for urban Christian leadership through a rigorous program of academics, servant-leadership, and discipleship. Delivered via a shared-life residency component, the Issachar experience represents a community – a tribe – of diverse young leaders who seek to follow Jesus into the heart of their neighborhoods. We create dynamic partnerships and shared sacred spaces to inspire a movement of transformational change in and around Denver.“
For more information about Issachar Center for Urban Leadership visit: http://www.issachardenver.org/about-us.html