The Voice of a Father


Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken

Christmas. The scent of a beautiful green tree filling the house decorated with colorful balls, shining lights, shimmering tinsel, and topped by an angel. Decorations generously spread from room-to-room, symbols of wonderful family memories passed down from generation-to-generation. I love Christmas and all it represents.

One thing I get tired of, though, is pundits who annually quote Bible verses they don’t understand about peace on earth and good will toward men when they have no grasp of how to fill that longing…

The human heart cries for deliverance from suicide bombings and ceaseless streams of refugees risking their lives in rickety boats striving to get to sanctuaries that promise them new lives, long sought opportunities, and freedom from fear.

Who wouldn’t give everything to get that? And this is exactly what Christmas offers.

One man who understood this was Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, and one of the first to speak about the meaning of Christ’s birth in the New Testament. He offered a prayer called the Benidictus, taken from his first word that announced the blessing Jesus would bring (Luke 1:67-79).

Zechariah saw Christ’s coming as the two-fold fulfillment of God’s covenant and God’s promises, a fulfillment that had both political and spiritual implications. In Zechariah’s time Israel was under the Roman heel, and he and his countrymen expected, based on Old Testament promises, that Jesus would overthrow the conquering Romans, set Israel free, and establish a worldwide kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital.

He was right in his expectation, but wrong in his timing.

First came personal salvation (Luke 1:76-79) with significant political and social implications, then the ultimate political deliverance would come with Christ’s second advent. Zechariah knew there could be no political change without spiritual transformation, because lasting political change demands a transformation of the heart that cannot be accomplished apart from a Savior.


This is why when I meet with the Wednesday Morning Men each week to study God’s word together, I see a culturally diverse group of African Americans, Asians, and Caucasians who understand the social as well as the spiritual reality of the Gospel.

Among them are men who have been instrumental in helping to fund minority businesses and have helped transform one of the most underprivileged areas of Dallas into an increasingly thriving segment of the city and serve to meet the needs of at-risk minority youth and care for orphans and literally travel the world for the Gospel in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia. We have others who are growing in freedom from addiction and still others who reach out to prisoners or who are discipler makers.

These men, like Zechariah, understand Christmas and believe that salvation has societal and political meaning and strive to make that meaning real.

We are on our way to bringing peace on earth to men of good will, which Jesus will complete when He returns to establish the kingdom Zechariah so joyfully anticipated.

Are we done? Of course not. But are we started? Absolutely. If only the pundits knew. If only the pundits knew.

From "The Voices of Christmas:  The Voice of a Father" 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.