Ed Stetzer talks about the moment in history we’re seeing as being a cultural convulsion that’s making it exceptionally challenging to lead.
In this wide-ranging interview, Ed talks about QAnon, Trump-ism, why evangelicals gravitate to conspiracy theories and what he sees as an evangelical reckoning. Surprisingly, it’s a potentially healing conversation many reasonable leaders will find encouraging.
Welcome to Episode 426 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey shares five principles that will help you lead with love.
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CNLP 297: Gordon MacDonald Shares 8 Decades fo Wisdom and Life Lessons, Father Wounds, The Dangers of Driveness, Counselling a U.S. President, and What Leaders Struggle With Between Ages 32-42 and at Age 48 and Age 62
Quote from Chuck Colson:
“When I served under President Nixon, one of my jobs was to work with special interest groups including religious leaders. We would invite them to the White House, wine and dine them, take them on cruises aboard the presidential yacht. Ironically, few people were more easily impressed than religious leaders. The very people who should have been immune to the worldly pomp seemed the most vulnerable.”
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Insights From Ed
1. Church leaders should expect an abnormally high amount of conflict over the next 5 years
In studying history, Ed realized that America has gone through 5-6 year periods of deep cultural change once every 60 years, and he thinks that the pandemic and other crises of the last year have started that period again.
During the last period, in the 1960s, America was a deeply divided place where church leaders took a lot of criticism. Ed expects it to be that way again for the next few years. As a church leader, you’ll need resilience, courage and a healthy filter to survive.
2. Much of the white Evangelical Church in America is now more driven by ideology than theology
One of Ed’s biggest concerns about the Western Evangelical Church is that, as the world around it has drifted deeper and deeper into Nationalism, ideology, and either extreme of the political spectrum, the Church has gone right along with it. Ed submits that our people are being formed by political ideology more than they are by theology.
3. Social media will be the “Roman lead pipes” of our day
2,000 years ago, the Romans had running hot and cold water. It was amazing technology for their time, but there was one flaw—the pipes were made out of lead because of how bendable of a metal it was. Obviously, that had an unexpected impact on the health of the Roman citizens.
Ed thinks that, in the future, historians will look back and see that social media was the “lead pipes” of our time. It will have helped us advance into the future but will have caused a lot of damage along the way.
Quotes from Episode 426The last decade hasn't just made evangelicals into something else, it's revealed who evangelicals are, and there's some real issues that need to be addressed for that. @edstetzer Click To Tweet If 5% of your church isn't mad at you, you're probably not doing anything significant. But if 70% of your church is mad at you, you need to slow it down. @edstetzer Click To Tweet You're not going to make it the next two or three years if you're not going to be willing to have some people unhappy about you taking stands on the right things. @edstetzer Click To Tweet Evangelicals have an inferiority complex because culture has sort of pushed us aside. @edstetzer Click To Tweet 50 years from now, maybe two years from now, people are going to look back at the social media age as the lead pipes of the Romans, that it was simultaneously feeding and killing us at the same time. @edstetzer Click To Tweet People right now are afraid. They're unsure and they're isolated. And when you're afraid and unsure and isolated, conspiracy theories just escalate. @edstetzer Click To Tweet People can't grow as disciples if that discipleship is other-worldly and doesn't address the issues of the world that are around us. @edstetzer Click To Tweet We are being fooled into thinking that the extremes are the norm. @edstetzer Click To Tweet I think the pandemic is going to feel like a building program to a lot of pastors. I think they're going to get the church to the other side, and I think a lot of people are going to step away from the ministry. @edstetzer Click To Tweet Most people are not having good faith conversation on social media anymore. And if that's the case, it's not my responsibility to answer every question asked in bad faith. @edstetzer Click To Tweet We're going into a season where we're going to have to build up, as leaders, greater reservoirs of resilience to face a higher level of conflict that's going to be ongoing. @edstetzer Click To Tweet I'm on the same team as everyone who names the name of Jesus and wants to change the world for him. @edstetzer Click To Tweet We've entered into a season of tumult and turbulence that will probably last three to four years. This is not dissimilar to what we saw in 1968. It's a cultural convulsion. @edstetzer Click To Tweet One of the natural responses to the chaos that we're seeing is cynicism. - Yuval Harari Click To Tweet Truth people think the grace people have no spine. And the grace people think the truth people have no heart. But the reality is that Jesus came full of grace and truth. Click To Tweet Truth isn't truth without grace and grace isn't grace without truth, so they have to be tethered together. Click To Tweet Think more of others than you think of yourself. Click To Tweet Humility isn't thinking less of yourself. It's just thinking of yourself less often. - C. S. Lewis Click To Tweet Speak well of people publicly, and deal with disagreements privately and directly. Click To Tweet You can disagree without being disagreeable. Click To Tweet The high road is never the easy road, but it is the best road. Click To Tweet
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Next Episode: Allison Fallon
Author, speaker and CEO Allison Fallon has helped CEOs, Olympic gold medalists, politicians and many others unlock their brains and leadership by learning how to write things down. Allison has seen leaders get freed from anxiety, depression and past trauma by learning a specific form of writing for just 20 minutes a day, four days in a row.
In this interview, she unpacks exactly what that can do for you.
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