A New Type of Leadership

Dear friends,

“. . . . It is a call to widen your spirit and a call to serve.”

Our good friend Tim Shriver recently wrote an article titled “Beware of Pope Francis,” in which he makes the point you can’t admire Pope Francis without acknowledging that the path he’s taking demands that we change.

I am not a Catholic, but I’m beginning to see Tim’s point. 

Last Sunday I saw the 60 Minutes segment on Pope Francis.  The entire production is remarkable (below) and well worth viewing, but one portion in particular has me reflecting on this: who is my audience in life. . . from whom do I seek accolades?      

It is widely reported that Pope Francis is filling key positions in the church with a new type of leader and is modeling a new kind of leadership. 

Here was what Pope Francis wrote to Quebec Archbishop Gerald Lacroix upon his selection to become cardinal:

“You being made a cardinal, Gerald, is not a promotion, it is not an honor and it’s not a decoration.  It is a call to widen your spirit and a call to serve.”

How often do I allow achievements in life to separate me from a call to serve others?  In what ways does my “position” actually detach me from others?

Recently I’ve remembered a period in my life when I regularly served breakfast to the homeless.  Now I sit on non-profit boards and usually feel very good about myself. 

Before Francis, that did not bother me, but now there seems to be a call that I reexamine my assumptions about leadership.  It’s disquieting.

Asked by Scott Pelley to explain why Pope Francis found all the attention he’s getting as “offensive,” His Eminence Cardinal Lacroix said, “Deep down he believes ‘it’s not about me.’”

This week in particular I think I’m going to just let that message sink in.