Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken

Huh? Mortunity? Is that a word? Bet you’ve never seen that one before. I hadn’t until I got it from a friend who made it up while talking with me recently.

I was telling my friend that in this year 2015 I have had the greatest sense of mortality ever, that this awareness has colored my thinking and has been a drag on my decisions.I have three things that won’t lie: my birth certificate, my passport, and my mirror—and these all combine to say I’m mortal!

At the same time, I have never had greater opportunities, from ministry expansion in Romania and Ukraine, to multiple invitations to Brazil and the Philippines, to events in the US, to a refocusing of LFI—more opportunity than I can fulfill.

All year long I have lived in the unresolved tension between mortality and opportunity that has often paralyzed my thinking. A few days before I met with my friend, just as I was falling asleep one night, I made a decision that enables me to live within this tension—I can never resolve it, but I can invest it. And so I wrote these words in my journal: I will leverage the tension of mortality to propel me into the challenge of opportunity with effectiveness and energy for the cause of eternity.

As I described my decision to my friend, he came out with, “Mortunity!” That’s it. Mortunity, a made up word that grabs the essence of my life. I am mortal, but I have eternal opportunities brought to me by the Lord of the universe who intends to use me right up to my last cogent breath. And what is true of me is true of you.

Now opportunity is about more than ministry or careers. It’s about my wife as we celebrate our 50th anniversary in two weeks. And it’s about our three adult sons and our daughters-in-law and our eight grandchildren, our adopted daughter and her family, our extended family, and our friends—all of those who make the circle of love in our lives.

Often I ask myself, “Why am I alive and have such good health and great energy? Why am I still here when so many I love have moved on?” I’m in extra time and only the Referee knows how long it will last. Extra time comes from soccer where they never take times out. When there’s a stop in play during the game, they add the time on until the teams play their full 90 minutes, and the added minutes are called extra time. Previously, before electronic clocks, only the referee knew how long extra time was, which added great suspense to the game, since you never knew when it would end. I’m past my allotted time of 70 years, which puts me in extra time—Mortunity, as my friend calls it, the tension of mortality leveraged into the energy of opportunity to make a difference for eternity. Mortunity anyone?

From "Mortunity" on Broken Leadership Blog is about changing the leadership conversation from what we are doing with our hands to what God is doing through our hearts.


Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he served full-time for twenty-four years (1981-2005). During this time he also was the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership for twelve years.