Forward, by Dr. Ronnie Floyd, is about seven distinguishing marks for future leaders. In Forward, Dr. Floyd, Senior Pastor of Cross Church and President of the Southern Baptist Convention, is calling for a different kind of leader to rise up for the future, a leader that guides people to a better future. These leaders, forward leaders, are able to lead people to go further than they would have ever gone on their own. Leaders like this are a rare find.
Forward leaders call people to rise beyond their own preferences and desires to be a part of something greater than themselves. Leaders like this are set apart from other leaders. And these leaders are rare.
Forward is a call. Forward is a process. Forward in a direction. Forward is a change.
If you plan to lead in the future in any capacity, read on.
The king of social networking is Mark Zuckerberg. He created Facebook as a student at Harvard University. What began as a focused vision to connect college students on one university campus via the Internet now connects all generations.
What is extremely interesting about his story is that Zuckerberg did not personally connect well in a cross-generational manner. In fact, as the founder and CEO of this multibillion-dollar company, he had frequent turnover among his senior executives. As the first millennial CEO of a company this size, he has had to learn and understand the value of all generations. History shows that they longevity and influence of Facebook, and every other company, will only be determined by its ability to connect cross-generationally.
Forward leaders are cross-generational leaders. Leading cross-generationally occurs when you are able to lead people in your own generation, the generation that came before you, and the generation that comes behind you. Few leaders lead across all generations. But it is possible to lead cross-generationally, and in reality, you must do it if you want to make the biggest difference with your life.
Our goal as leaders should be to make the biggest difference in as many lives as we possibly can. Without compromising biblical truth and principles, you can adjust your leadership to do this. No one in human history has ever demonstrated a greater ability to lead cross-culturally than Jesus Christ.
Since Jesus promised He would one day return, all generations are looking for Him. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Jesus led and still leads cross-generationally.
Cross-generational leadership is biblical, missional, and spiritual.
Like Jesus, the apostle Paul was also a forward leader who led cross-generationally. In 1 Timothy 5:1-2, we read the words of Paul to his protégé, Timothy:
Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and with all propriety, the younger women as sisters.
Through this text, God is teaching us biblical respect for each other. Forward leadership is biblical and calls us to embrace the love of Jesus for all people.
Jesus Christ has called us to one compelling vision: Presenting the gospel to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations. The vision of Jesus will one day be completed, thus a forward leader lives on mission with God. Leaders, give your future to this high and worthy task.
Forward leaders know that without power from on high, they cannot love all people like Jesus loves all people. Without God’s presence and power in our lives, we will live for ourselves and for those we are most comfortable being with. Forward leaders are spiritual.
Today, pray for the Holy Spirit to fall upon you and guide you to think more cross-generationally.
“Lord, fill me today with the Holy Spirit. Every part of me, all of me, fill me right now. I yield myself to You completely. Empower me with Your Spirit today. Lord, compel me to live and lead cross-generationally for your glory.”
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Senior Pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas for 38 years. He is the author of multiple books, including Forward: Seven Distinguishing Marks for Future Leaders.