By Fiona Imbali
For communities to thrive, prosper and experience equitable development, its leaders must be progressive thinkers. Archbishop Stephen Marete of the National Independent Churches of Kenya urges leaders to know God’s heart, obey him and think about long term development processes to ensure that their communities and nations prosper.
He noted that Israel was surrounded by enemies as many nations plotted to destroy it. Despite being a holy nation and protected by God, their disobedience led to destruction of its capital city Jerusalem. The Archbishop further notes that good leaders should be empathetic about their people’s woes, know challenges that face them and provide solutions. “Nevertheless, concern without prayer is ineffective,” in reference to Nehemiah 1: 1-3. Nehemiah’s prayer to God showed that he was concerned when Jerusalem’s wall was broken down and its gates burned with fire and for several months he mourned and did not eat as he empathized with his people and the troubles they were facing.
An inspiring persona motivates communities to have confidence in ones capacity to lead. The Archbishop notes that when Nehemiah summoned his people, they showed up to listen to what he had to say despite being frail, poor and afraid as he was an inspirational leader. “One must speak to them with inspirational power and motivate them to
understand that there’s always a solution to any problem that arises.”
While speaking at a farmer resource persons review workshop at JJ. McCarthy centre, the Archbishop noted that leaders should be forward thinkers, have foresight and be able to plan effectively for the future. This also ties-up with organizational skills which are essential for community leaders charged with the responsibility of organizing their people to take charge of their situations. Effective leadership calls for proper time management skills; effective delegation of responsibilities whilst consulting widely before making decisions.
Accessibility is a key quality of progressive leaders as their presence enables communities to interact with them and make them understand and deal with salient issues affecting them at the grassroots. These leaders should also be well above reproach. In reference to Timothy 3:1-2 which spells out the nobility of being an overseer who should be above reproach, temperate, self-controlled, respectable and gentle. They are required to ascertain truths and avoid gossip and untruths, must be impartial and not selfish. Archbishop Marete noted the importance of sacrifice from leaders which ensures they serve diligently; lead effectively and make bold decisions.