The new leader is authentic and real, without posturing or pretentions. In 1906 Albert Schweitzer said the study of Jesus has been for theology a school of honesty. (The Quest for the Historical Jesus by Albert Schweitzer) More than any business, or any other institution, without authenticity, we will die. Nothing can be more antithetical to the cause of Christ than a Christian who has to hide his/her true feelings, ideas, concerns and behaviors in order to exercise leadership.
The young, especially, can sense genuineness, and many of them report that is why they don’t like church. AA does a better job of being real in a community setting than we do. How do they get there? By valuing open honesty over good behavior, and by not judging others who fall off the path. This is possible for us as well, and in fact, what better role model is there for this behavior than Jesus Christ? He knew how to set boundaries as well as the art of welcoming all those who are travelling on his road.
For this to work, it also means we have to not just recognize, but appreciate that our leaders have human failings and struggle with their own brokenness. If we condemn them for their open honesty, then we can expect them to keep up their false appearances and pretenses of perfection.
(coming next: The consequences of being real)