By Pastor Steve Kelly / Books /
Chapter 1 – The Accent of Leadership
(adapted from The Accent of Leadership)
Have you ever traveled abroad to a culture completely different from your own? If so, you may have experienced difficultly understanding a restaurant menu, adjusting to the cuisine, or had trouble remembering what side of the road to drive on. These things can all be expected from someone who is visiting a country that is not their own.
Did you know that if you are a Christian, you are visiting a land that is not your own? The Bible says that as Christians, our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20 NIV). This is a reassurance to those who find themselves dissatisfied with the troubles of this world, and those who feel out of place, like someone visiting a foreign nation. We ought not to be ashamed of our heavenly citizenship, but should try to behave as someone who is proud of their heritage. This chance to be a part of God’s family is a privilege, and sets you apart for His plan for your life.
When you speak, do your words reflect the fact that you are not “native” to this earth? Just as hearing a foreign accent causes someone to stop and wonder where that person is from; as Christian leaders, the way we speak should spark the same curiosity in people. Your accent should signify that you are a citizen of another place. With this awareness, we are reminded that we are first and foremost citizens of heaven and that this loyalty should come before even the country we call home. I’m not encouraging you to not be patriotic, but I am reminding you that our eternal home is heaven, not America or Australia or whatever country you call home. God’s ways transcend the barriers of language and the variables of culture. When you speak with an accent of leadership, you have the power of heaven available to you.
In the same way, Jesus spoke with power and authority, and people noticed. The Gospel of John tells a story about a time that guards were commanded to arrest Jesus, but upon hearing him speak they were left dumbfounded saying, “No one ever spoke the way this man does” (John 7:45-46 NIV). The Bible records that wherever Jesus went, crowds gathered. People were drawn to the way He spoke, because it was unlike anything they had ever heard before. Though the comparison is inadequate, just as my Australian accent is noticeable among a room full of Americans, Jesus’ words stood out.
My question for you today is, do you speak with the accent of leadership? Do your words and actions reflect a different culture than what is around you? As Christians, we ought to speak like we’re from another kingdom. Our words ought to carry weight. Words have power, and when spoken with an accent of leadership and a touch from heaven, they have the authority to bring life to even the most hopeless situations.