Next to Scripture the Arts continue to be a powerful impact on my life.  God continues to use great paintings, music, and movies to stir my passions.  Perhaps because I am in a position of leadership the movies Lincoln and Les Mis in a very profound way have stirred within me reminders about leadership and the hope I have for my own leadership experiences.

In the movie “Lincoln” the portrayal of Abraham Lincoln’s and Thaddeus Stevens’ leadership reminded me of the importance of principled leadership in the midst of the execution of the plan.  Stevens is portrayed as a passion filled idealistic leader who has very little room for anything or anyone that gets in the way of what he is trying to accomplish.  He says to Lincoln, “I lead, you should try it some time.”  Lincoln is portrayed as being more deliberate in his approach to accomplishing the end goal of the 13th amendment.   Lincoln is willing to compromise and remain flexible in the steps needed to be accomplished in order to achieve the valued outcome.  I was struck again with how vision and execution of the vision plan are so vital to effective leadership.  Leadership must remain principled and yet have the realization that there are various ways to achieve the preferred and necessary outcome.  It is important that both vision and execution be present in effective leadership.

Les Mis moved me in a way that surprised me.  The leadership moment that stuck with me was the young men and women holed up in a barricade willing to risk everything for a cause they believed in and risk it all together.  Leadership can be lonely and there is something exceptionally appealing when you see and feel leadership within the context of a team of friends ready to die for one another and a cause. Bill Hybels the pastor of Willow Creek Church in Chicago was recently asked what one thing he would repeat from his experience of starting a church thirty years ago if he were starting a church today. His response was that he would do it again with his friends. Perhaps this is what is the difference between good teams and great teams. Could it be that great teams are bound by a life giving cause and life fulfilling friendship!