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The Reluctant Leader

A Harvard Law graduate resisted notions of leadership until she experienced a different model at Duke Divinity School.

of tools, disciplines, and approaches. Learning to read the writings of the church fathers trained me to honor in charity how others faithfully respond to God’s call on their lives and to eavesdrop on how God is speaking to them. The listener and team player inside of me celebrated . Midday chapel service reminded me that doxology is more than a collection of prayers or a beautifully written book; it is the manner in which I am formed and my total, faithful embrace of my purpose. The worshiper in me lifted my hands and shouted . Fully embracing Jesus’ call to the least of these prompted me to speak up when the least of those within our own Divinity School community were overlooked, undervalued, and disrespected. The advocate in me fought . Listening to others’ pain taught me to face and articulate my own brokenness and to trust God to heal and use me in spite of it. The wounded in me found strength in Christ and told others .

After three years, I learned that leadership is born out of faithfulness to the gifts and graces God has placed inside of you. There is no formula and there are no steps. Its marker is a humble confidence in God’s magnificent creation in you coupled with the assurance that God will use all he has deposited in you and will complete the work he has begun in you. For some it is a quiet leadership, faithfully leading your struggling classmates to the foot of the cross every week in prayer. For others it is a graceful leadership, dancing through the chapel aisles to lead others in worship. And for others it is preaching the message of the gospel with power, clarity, and conviction, helping to lead some to become more faithful to Christ. It will look different in each one of us.

Christian leadership and faithfulness to God go hand in hand. Others are willing to follow those who have the faith and courage to step into and fully live out their gifts. We are attracted to the power of the Holy Spirit at work. I did not like the term leader when I first entered the Divinity School, and I’m still wary of it now. I don’t seek to be known as a leader; but I do want you to know God’s power working through me. If that is your definition of leader, then I echo the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”