Monthly Archives

July 2016

At The Wheel? (Leighton)

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When I was about eight or nine years old,  Captain Hill of the Muskoka Lakes steamship Ahmic would let me steer down the Indian River.

He’d stand behind and tell me “One spoke left …” Or “Two spokes right …”

I was sure I was in charge and he let me think that. But the real captain was keeping close watch and ready to correct to keep us safe. Kind of makes me think of my Great Captain …

Leighton Ford

Position Doesn’t Equal Power (Leighton)

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In his essay “Leadership and Power”, John Gardner defines power as “the capacity to ensure the outcomes one wishes and to prevent those one does not wish”.

The ability to bring about through others the consequences that we intend is power. In our complex modern world the sources of that power are widely varied.

Today we generally equate position with power. A delightful story illustrates positional power. A new factory owner went to lunch at a nearby restaurant which featured a “blue plate special” that allowed for no substitutions. When he asked for a second pat of butter the waitress refused. Irritated, he called for the manager, but she also refused him.

“Do you know who I am?” he asked indignantly. “I am the new owner of the factory across the street.” The woman smiled and said “Do you know who I am, sweetie? I am the person who decides whether or not you get a second pat of butter!”

Those who are called to be in Christ are called to look at all things, including power, in Christ. To see power as it was “in Christ” and to be able to use power righteously when we are “in Christ” acknowledges its creative or destructive potential and also admits the possibility that power itself can be redeemed for good.

The cross was the climax of a lifetime in which Jesus disarmed the powers. And how did he do it? He showed the greatness of the servant. He showed the power of the last place. He showed the triumph of the cross.


Adapted from Transforming Leadership by Leighton Ford (1991, InterVarsity Press)

Do You Wish You Were A Genius? (Leighton)

By | Reflections/Essays | No Comments

I saw Genius yesterday, the movie about Thomas Wolfe and his relationships..

Wolfe was a genius of a writer…Look Homeward, Angel et al.

But he was a loser in relationships – estranged from both his lover (Mrs. Stein) and his editor, Maxwell Perkins.

thomas wolfe

I’d rather not be a genius if that’s what it takes.
Jim Elliot, one of my student day heroes, who offered his life taking the love of Jesus to Auca Indians said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to keep what he cannot lose.”

Wolfe was a genius. Elliot was a wise man.


Leighton Ford


Photo creds: (Wolfe); (Elliot)

Solitude and Leadership (Leighton)

By | Leadership, Life with God | No Comments


“If you want others to follow, be alone with your own thoughts.”

This is from a talk given at the US Military Academy at West Point by William Deresiewicz of Yale. As I read I was struck that this is something church leaders – caught up often in “frenzied busyness” – need to heed.

Here are some of his provocative statements – unusual for future military leaders to hear:
• “Leadership is what you are here to leave …”
• “Solitude is what you have the least of here …”
• “And yet I submit to you that solitude is one of the most important necessities of true leadership”
• “Multi-tasking … is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think.”
• “Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it.”
His whole speech is worth absorbing. Click here for a link to read in full.
Then get alone and think about it!


Leighton Ford