In salute to my spiritual father, Reverend D. Cecil "Chip" Murray, Tanzi Chair of Religious Studies at USC, today I spoke before the present class of the Passing the Mantle Program, at the newly launched USC Cecil L. Murray Center for Community Engagement. My brother and friend, Reverend Mark Whitlock, is also involved with the institute, which will soon be named in honor of Rev. Dr. Cecil Murray.
I was honored to speak before the group, and focused on them as "reset leaders" for a new generation, at a new time.
My now bestselling business book, LOVE EADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and its 5 Laws of Love Leadership, became the centerpiece of the broader conversation, but in essence I told them this:
- They are the reset leaders, for a new generation.
- If this is a crisis of virtues and values, and not just an economic crisis, then the world needs them more than ever.
- The black and minority community do not need hand outs, and we are not victims. We need a hand up, and a spirit for (economic) empowerment.
- People don't change in good times, they change in bad times. People don't change when they are comfortable, they change when they are uncomfortable. The world is about to become very uncomfortable, and faith leaders will become more important in these times of "lost purpose" in our world.
- Understand that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. only had a staff of 60 at SCLC, and a $600,000 annual operating budget, and he (and my hero Ambassador Andrew Young) changed the world, and he did it without firing a shot. He went up against the most powerful nation and military in the world, he won, and he did it without firing a shot. They can also be the change, in their communities, today.
- Nothing good comes easy, and rainbows only follow storms. Don't run away from their challenges and problems, run towards them. Embrace legitimate suffering.
- Don't get discouraged with time. Most peole don't find their rymth in life until after 50 years old. Nelson Mandela went into prison in his late 40's, stayed there 27 long years, and made most of his change in South Africa in his 70's.
- People will ignore them, then they will criticize them, and then they will win. Never, ever give up.
The participants were then treated to a surprise call from my personal hero and mentor, civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young, who was the strategist in the civil rights movement and a close aide to Dr. Marting Luther King, Jr. Two of my mentors, heroes and friends in one place, on one day. Doesn't get much better. A special thank you to Leo Cablayan and Eric Clay from Operation HOPE Los Angeles, who staffed me during this event.
The Passing the Mantle Clergy and Lay Leadership Institute (soon to be renamed the UC Cecil L. Murray Center for Community Engagement) is committed to training church leaders to change governmental policies and the neighborhood ethos within Southern California. The economic and social problems facing communities of color are complex and deeply rooted in racism, apathetic governmental representation, and a lack of understanding of the civic engagement process by clergy and lay leaders.
Therefore, faith-based civic engagement professionals must address issues related to gang violence, prison reform, government policies, health, criminal justice, and social services. This more complex environment demands that clergy and lay leaders develop new approaches, greater expertise, and improved institutional operations. The Passing the Mantle Clergy and Lay Leadership Institute (PTM) addresses these challenges through a learning program for enhancing leadership and building the institutions needed to tackle emerging civic issues.
PTM is designed to equip pastors, clergy, faith based non-profit leaders, and church board members for better mission conceptualization, civic engagement models, strategic planning, and partnership building with the public and private sector. The course creates a learning environment with leading practitioners, politicians, and professors who are engaged in areas related to civic engagement and community development.
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and Member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama.