Key themes encountered:
Three individuals were the focus of our stops in Moulton and Olney, William Carey, John Sutcliff, and William Cowper. A common thread connected them with each other and at the same time set them a distance apart from those immersed in the religiosity of their day; this thread can be said to be the heart. Of the three incarnational themes which were our focus this day – obedience, redemption, and love – “the greatest of these is love.” While studying leadership it may be tempting to reduce these individuals’ success in ministry to a list of theoretical principles and practical decisions, but this Christian element – the heart – which cannot be manufactured in any way, is the indispensable element without which no great task of the Lord could be accomplished.
I could not help but experience a cheerful disposition when we discussed the transformative experience John Wesley had when the Morovians introduced him to the idea of a “heart religion” with Christ. In William Carey’s Baptist Church, after a simple slide show, a profound question had been submitted to us of which I took note: “What is on the heart of God for today’s world?” Conceivably, the hearts of Carey, Sutcliff, and Cowper were devotedly tied to their ministries because their ministries were devotedly tied to the heart of God.
Today, so much of a leader’s work is fettered to a political party, economic ideology, religious denomination, or personal vision, and as such what can we anticipate our labor to amount to but earthly recognition and popular praise. But if we should desire to hear chiefly the applause of an audience of One, may God’s chosen leaders ask of Him to unshackle their hands from such vain toil so that they may be tethered to a new service and industry, one tied to the very heart of God and of eternal reward. If one’s work be surely of the Lord, may the manifestation of his ministry reflect the heart for which the laborer and leader toils.