The person I am most glad to have encountered at this Leadership Summit has been Gary Haugen — lawyer, genocide investigator in Rwanda, founder and CEO of International Justice Mission. Quite simply, Gary is one of the most impressive and inspiring people I’ve ever met in my life, lawyer or not... his great priorities are Micah 6 — to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
Martin Luther King used to say that the first claim of love is justice. We can only exert leadership that matters if we apply ourselves wholehartedly to issues that matter to God. Pharisees were well-briefed Biblicists. They failed because they tried to lead people into priorities which mattered more to them than to God.
Why should the man shot artbitrarily by police on the streets of Kenya, or the child prostitute in India, believe that God is good and loves the world? What is God’s plan to make his word believable? Incredibly, we are! IJM deploys skilled local people to contest slavery, trafficking, exploitation and violence around the world. It’s dangerous work, but infinitely rewarding. It’s grounded in prayer, and requires undertaking major risks daily.
Mr Haugen talked of a childhood trip up a mountain — a climb he missed, because he chickened out and stayed in the visitor centre, then tried to kid everyone else it was as good as the real thing. Is our Christian commitment about endeavouring the harder climb, or just looking at pictures down in the visitor centre?
If we want to grow in authentic faith, we need to exercise it about the things that matter, not trivial pursuits and in-house niceties.