What is it all about?

The Messengers is a television series about a group of ordinary humans chosen by God to prove if humanity is worth saving. Each one of them is gifted with a supernatural ability and together they have to stop the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. While the story if far from being great, I ended up watching it hoping to find something worthwhile.

What do we see in this scene?

There are two parts to this post. In the first video, we see Joshua, one of the messengers, who has the gift of Vision preaching in front of his followers. Joshua is a second-generation televangelist preacher and recovered addict who struggles to find his place in the world. He’s an important member of his father’s church and has now the opportunity to lead the congregation.

Charismatic and energetic, Joshua starts to talk about his vision when suddenly he changes pace and abruptly ends his story losing all credibility. Joshua realizes that this is not the path he has chosen.

In this second video, a couple of episodes later, we see Joshua talking with Koa who’s another messenger. Both have their personal issues and unique gift and during this long conversation, each learns something important.

What do we learn from Joshua and Koa

I’ve often been asking myself how preaching and lecturing relate to leadership. There are many leaders and people in a leading role who love to talk and sermon others. Is preaching actually what we think it is? Could we define it as a valuable skill? Or is it something we should live to men of faith and intellectuals?

While the word preaching seems to be originating from Christianity, sermons and other related words have been used by other faiths long before. Preaching is also not limited to religious views, but it extends to moral and social world-views as well. Even sales people are preaching the qualities of their company’s products. So how about leaders? Do they preach? Should they preach? Is it any different from lecturing?

After some reading, I found out it is actually more complex than expected. There is a major difference between preaching and lecturing. Lecturing is about informing people, whereas preaching aims at transformation and therefore inspire people to change their actions. At times, both can sound like criticizing our ways; this is probably the perception most people have when a boss, teacher, parent or friend lectures them.

In this second video, Joshua says he used to lead people and inspire them, but today nobody listens to him. This is exactly what we see in the first video, but can we call this leadership?

I like very much the following sentence I found on Preaching.com (which actually sounds like a sermon):
“Leadership is not about appearance or surveys; it’s about character, vision and wise choices. Anyone can grandstand for the cameras; whipping a partisan crowd into a frenzy is a piece of cake; but only a rare breed can make the gutsy calls during the lonely hours of leadership.”

See also this Ted presentation for more about the topic.

This validates the idea that while a good sermon can shake people and stir their hearts, words are not enough to be considered as leadership.

During the second film Koa quoted Lao Tzu with:

We often tend to say that one of the best ways to make people move is by giving them ownership and making them believe it was their idea. The leader is not the one who has to manage the monkey, nor should he take credit for it’s success.

Key learning points:

1. Preaching a vision is pointless if one doesn’t believe in it.
2. Preaching and lecturing are not the same and should be used based on the expected result: inform or transform.
3. Lecturing and sermoning in the negative sense (criticizing) is not an effective leadership tool.
4. Preaching is part of a leader’s role in order to extend his vision, however preaching alone is not leading. One has to walk the talk to actually lead others.
5. Leading people is not about oneself, but about the others.

I believe that in today’s post I only scratched the surface and will continue digging into the subject. I also have a feeling that point 5, though it seems common sense, has still much wisdom to provide.


Interesting links

The Difference Between Preaching And Teaching
Lecturing or Preaching?
The difference between a lecture and a sermon