NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, November 3rd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
Well, it’s the first Tuesday of the month and that means Emily Whitten joins us for our Classic Book of the Month.
Good morning, Emily.
EMILY WHITTEN, BOOK REVIEWER: Good morning, Mary.
REICHARD: What do you have for us today?
WHITTEN: The book I want to talk about today is Leadership as an Identity by Crawford Loritts. In it, Loritts does a deep dive into God’s view of leadership. And I think most of us would agree this is a time of disappointing leadership in many areas of our culture, so I found it really refreshing.
REICHARD: Sounds good. Where should we start?
WHITTEN: Maybe I should begin with Loritts’ background. He served as Associate Director for Campus Crusade for Christ for nearly 30 years, and he’s pastored Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia since 2005. In addition to that, he serves as a public speaker and evangelist, and he hosts a daily radio program called Living a Legacy. So, he writes from personal experience about what it means to be a leader–the pressures and rewards, all that goes with it.
Here’s a clip of a speech of his from a Real Momentum video posted on Youtube this May.
CRAWFORD LORITTS: What did every great man or woman of God have in common that God trusted with his assignments? Remember I said leadership is all about assignment. It’s about what something needs to be done. It’s the stewardship and execution of God’s will in human history. That’s what leadership is about–distinctively Christian leadership is about.
So, Mary, Loritts asks us to think about what sets Christian leadership apart from worldly ideas of leadership. And his first insight is, leadership isn’t about you and your resume. It’s about God and what He’s doing.
In the first chapters of Leadership as an Identity, Loritts observes how God chooses leaders in the Bible. He says you can’t take a Myers-Briggs test to find out if you’re leadership material in God’s eyes. Rather, God chooses all sorts of people with many different gifts and backgrounds. What remains the same across the board—God takes sinners and shapes them to accomplish His purposes. The big question then becomes, how does He do that?
REICHARD: I’m guessing it’s not a virtual Masterclass.
WHITTEN: If only it were that easy, right? I’m afraid not, Mary. Loritts says the first trait of a great Christian leader is brokenness. Here’s Loritts speaking in another YouTube video, this time at Eagle’s Nest Church Atlanta in 2019:
LORITTS: It’s all about what God wants to do in and through my life. So He gives us holy handicaps to keep us trusting Him. Our failures, all of these things, are redemptive. And they should be the things that we put in our trophy case. Not that we delight in the failure, but that we delight from the lessons that we learned…
Loritts contrasts brokenness with woundedness. It’s not enough to be wounded. You’ve got to take your wounds to God and find His healing. That creates the second trait of a godly leader—uncommon communion with God. Loritts talks here in that Real Momentum video about the gap between our abilities and God’s assignments.
LORITTS: Brokenness is a permanent sense of God neediness. And our theme song playing in our minds all the time is, ‘I need Thee, oh, I need Thee, every hour I need Thee.’ Moses as he walked into pharaoh with nothing more than a stick and the presence of God, every step of the way he was saying, ‘I need Thee, oh, I need Thee.’ You can’t do what you need to as a husband and a father if you’re not falling on your face before a holy God.
Loritts often illustrates his points with Biblical leaders. On p. 77, he points out the time God sent Jacob home to face his violent brother Esau–the brother he’d stolen from years before. As he gets closer to home, Jacob feels his need for God, and he wrestles with God all night. In the end, Jacob walks away with a limp but he also receives God’s blessing. Loritts says that’s a picture for us of the brokenness and uncommon communion of godly leadership.
REICHARD: Thinking of Jacob’s limp…Sometimes that brokenness is easy to see, and sometimes you can’t see it. God still uses it. What else should we know about Christian leadership?
WHITTEN: Yes, there’s a lot to unpack here. Loritts discusses two other character traits, servant leadership and radical obedience. He includes lists of inspiring quotes at the end of each chapter, and ultimately, he encourages leaders to be faithful to the end. And we do that by serving out of our new identity in Christ.
REICHARD: “Serving out of our new identity in Christ.” Explain what you mean by that?
WHITTEN: Well, Loritts says “distinctively Christian leaders” aren’t just doing God’s work. We are God’s work. An important part of His plan is to make us more like Christ. That’s why we can’t just lead in a transactional way, serving to get what we want. Instead, godly leaders follow the Biblical pattern of sanctification. God brings trials into our lives, causing us to cling to Him and obey His Word. As God changes us, then we can lead others out of His strength and for His glory. Loritts summarizes this in a 2011 Heart Cry for Revival conference:
LORITTS: It is the sovereign God who gets the glory as we carry out His assignments.
REICHARD: Thank you for this recommendation today, Emily.
WHITTEN: You’re very welcome, Mary. Happy reading!
REICHARD: For October, Emily recommended Leadership as an Identity by Crawford Loritts. For more classic book ideas, just search for Classic Book of the Month at worldandeverything.org.