Being a Christian Leader in a Post-Christian Culture: Mike Pompeo

Exodus 18:21 “You shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; you shall place these as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.”

Susan and I have had Christ at the center of our lives. Back in my church in Wichita I was a deacon. She and I taught fifth grade Sunday School, which was a great, great lesson for my time as Secretary of State.

The person quoted above, who thinks teaching 5th grade Sunday School was a great primer for his current job as the US Secretary of State, is Mike Pompeo. The Secretary of State is the key foreign policy position of our nation. Along with the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense and Attorney General, they are the four most important cabinet positions in our democracy. How important is his current job?

Some of the many duties of Secretary of State are 1) conduct negotiations relating to U.S. foreign affairs, 2) ensure the protection of the U.S. government to U.S. citizens, property, and interests in foreign countries, 3) supervise the administration of the US Immigration policy abroad, 4) communicate issues of U.S. foreign policy to Congress and to U.S. citizens, and 5) promote the beneficial economic discussions between the U.S. and other countries. Sure, can’t we all immediately see his point that there are similarities with teaching the Bible to 5th graders?

What Pompeo is explaining in his recent speech to the American Association of Christian Counselors is that his devotion to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior makes him uniquely qualified to fill one of the four most powerful positions in the US government. His faith, in his view, defines his leadership.

“I learned how to lead at whatever level I’m blessed with during my time at West Point and other experiences, but I want to talk today about being a Christian leader. I learned that through a very different experience, an experience with God and my own personal faith in Christ.” Mike Pompeo believes one of his greatest qualifications for his current job is his personal faith in Jesus Christ. So how does his devotion to Christ shape his approach to leading our Foreign Affairs department?

Scripture calls us to be ‘transformed by the renewing of our minds.’ And so I keep a Bible open on my desk, and I try every morning to get in a little bit of time with the Book. I need my mind renewed with truth each day.

He studies God’s Word daily, for instruction in being the Secretary of State. I’m sure this goes over well with the secular media.

“I know that even having just said that, some people in the media will break out the pitchforks when they hear that I ask God for direction in my work. But you should know, as much as I’d like to claim originality, it is not a new idea. I love this quote from President Lincoln. He said that ‘I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.’”

Mike Pompeo spoke at the American Association of Christian Counselors to share with the nation what he thinks it means to be a Christian leader in a Post-Christian America. He broke it into three areas.

“First is disposition. How is it that one carries oneself in the world? The second is dialogue. How is it that we engage with others around the world? And third is decisions, decisions that we make. How do we make choices? Upon what basis? What do we use as our bedrock to get to those decisions? These are things that you face in your work every day. They are issues that the State Department and President Trump, each of us, must face.” All three of these areas were taught to him. He explains how and where below.

“I grew older, when I started my time at the US Military Academy, there were two young men – they were in the class ahead of me – who invited me to a Bible study. They were very intentional to me in explaining God’s Word. And after some study and discipleship with them, they helped me begin my walk with Christ.” Pompeo returned to the importance of Bible study to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of Christ.

Pompeo ended his speech by reminding us where the strength to do his job, and any of our jobs, comes from: “No matter what comes before you, I pray you’ll help hurting people stay immersed in God’s Word. By remaining humble. By showing forgiveness. By listening intently and carefully and thoughtfully. By not rushing to judgment in complicated matters. By being a faithful steward. By using your time with intentionally. And I pray you’ll do these things not out of your own strength, but by relying on, as Paul says, ‘Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we are able to ask or to imagine.’”

The Evidence of Faith’s Substance – Article #371

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