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Why should this generation care about the





when they believe their future is going up in flames?




An open letter to the College of Cardinals from a Protestant who believes that what happens in Rome still matters,

In this fourth quarter of civilization, we are faced with increased secularism, division between nations, and corruption among the trusted and true. It is because of this atmosphere that the College of Cardinals must appoint a transformational leader. As President of Student Leadership University, I have listened to the concerns and questions of emerging young leaders who report disillusionment on a global scale, and I believe emphatically that the church needs the ancient wisdom of the ages from Solomon to Peter Drucker in order to regain its effectiveness for this generation.

To choose one man to lead as the Pope is a daunting task, and I am in agreement with author Simon Sinek who wrote the provocative book, Start With Why. The masses of the planet do not care about what you do or how you plan to do it, until they know why you want to do it. At the core of this decision, the next generation wants to know why was the church started in the first place and what is its true value? Many students do not believe in a denomination, religion or institution because they do not understand why Jesus came from heaven in the first place, or why He willingly suffered, died, and rose from the dead.

Is your candidate able to articulate with Waterford crystal clarity that Jesus is truly the answer to what troubles the world? Humility does not preclude the ability to inspire others through both word and deed.

Would your candidate be willing to embrace a “tradigital” strategy thatcombines the traditions of the faith taught in the Bible in a language and a platform that can reach the digital generation? Author Patricia Harris once called this generation A Tribe Apart. Since more than 50% of the world’s population is under the age of 30, what steps would he take to engage a generation that has been described as an unreached people group?

What have been the defining moments in his ministry as a Priest, as a Bishop, as a Cardinal? It is important to consider what successes in ministry this candidate has had that would define the impact of his ministry thus far. The heartbeat of his mission will identify whether a man is a compassionate and courageous shepherd or just a custodian, holding the staff in place rather than leading forward.



What was his role?



Who else was involved?



What results were achieved?



What was the process?



What were the biggest challenges that he faced?



What mistakes did he make?



What would he do differently today?

Is the candidate able to embrace reality, to see the church and humanity asthey are before he attempts to lead where they should go? To profit from what really is, one must seek to leverage positive realities and be willing to confront and solve negative ones. Ellie Wiesel, Nobel peace prize recipient and author reminds us, Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Will he express anger as Jesus did over the need to cleanse the temple? Would he be willing to be sad for the tough choices he must make, yet prefer sadness for taking action rather than feeling sorrow for remaining silent and neutral? How will he demonstrate and model how Jesus feels about the pain and the hurt that exists on this planet?

Lastly, by way of this post, I am asking the thousands of Student Leadership University alumni and friends across the globe who believe wholeheartedly that Leadership begins at the feet of Jesus to join the College of Cardinals in praying for wisdom and clarity in your choice.



Reader, If you were given the chance to submit one question or comment to the College of Cardinals, what would it be?



Dr. Jay Strack



On March 19, 2013 1:46 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
The only criteria I can find when you examine the whole of Jesus’ ministry is found in Matthew 9 where he saw the multitudes and was moved with compassion. He felt they were like sheep without a shepherd. Let’s protect the young from the wolves and the lions. Like you, I believe Jesus is the only way to the Father.
On March 19, 2013 12:39 PM, Dave said:
I loved your blog… and I agree! I would ask “Can anyone who accepts and follow Jesus go to Heaven?” Mother Theresa ministered to many who were not Catholic/Christian, and I’m guessing at least some were led to Jesus by her love. Of course God/Holy Spirit is the true revealer of who Jesus is, and Jesus is the only way to the Father.
On March 19, 2013 12:38 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
Michael, knowing that you’re in DC I’m thrilled to hear that there are individuals who also believe we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are the Corpus Christi – the body of Christ. We should see what He sees and feel what He feels and touch that which He would touch.
On March 19, 2013 12:37 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
Dan thank you for the gracious shout out except for brining up that I’m getting old. Just remember I may be getting old, but I’m still very cool.
On March 19, 2013 12:37 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
Don, you and I were of one spirit and it seems we both were close to making a good call when you were praying for a St. Francis like spirit. I also appreciate that this is a good opportunity for Catholic and Protestant alike to put on the whole armor and be able to make a stand in these last days.
On March 19, 2013 12:36 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
The secular media I believe are hungry to find stories that really matter. The issue that we often have with the media, as you have correctly discerned, is that all of these conversations depend on our Biblical World View. That is why it is imperative that we be fully convinced in our own mind what we believe and why.
On March 19, 2013 12:36 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
I’m thrilled that there are families who are still having meals together. I’m thrilled that there are parents and teenagers having valuable communication – especially dealing with some of the great questions that every family will face.
On March 19, 2013 12:35 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
I think many leaders would agree that when we rush into quick responses without answering the “Why” questions, it often results in us losing ground or fumbling the ball in our cause.
On March 19, 2013 12:35 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
Having the advantage of having read some of the first statements out of Pope Francis’s mouth, I must say his first steps seem to be very positive. Especially his emphasis on the example of Jesus and that leadership does begin at the feet of Jesus. It has been quite a reminder to those of us in the West, both Protestant and Catholic that the four or five issues that matter the most to us (with the exception of healing the pain caused by horrible sexual abuse), are not the leading four or five questions that over a billion people in the world who live on less than $6 /day are worried about.
On March 19, 2013 12:35 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
Anytime I get a “well done” from one of the great apologist in the country, I’ll take it. It’s amazing at what is happening at Southeastern Seminary.
On March 19, 2013 12:34 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
Not only is all of Latin America very excited about the decision, but also a lot of folks are hopeful that this will lead to a real emphasis on making the main message about Jesus and how He would have us respond to the issues on the planet.
On March 19, 2013 12:34 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
Thank you for taking time from your hectic schedule to post such an effective response! It is especially great to have a national leader applauding teenagers who want their lives to count for Christ.
On March 19, 2013 12:33 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
Bill, one of my favorite verses is John 1:14, stating that Jesus was “full of grace and truth”. The hard part as you know is taking our very strong and truthful message, and sharing it in such a way that those who have been affected or trapped by some of these issues could get through them with clarity and compassion. I challenge our SLU students that when they declare how they feel about the sanctity of life, creation, or lifestyle issues, they should do not apologize for what the Bible says, but they should show their care and concern about the person without trying to win an argument or debate. Instead their end result be that the person who struggles with the issue can acknowledges their disagreement, however they know the student cares about them and therefore they can talk to them about the issue.
On March 19, 2013 12:33 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
It’s obvious that Sinek is correct by stating that settling the why is the beginning of transformation. I believe every denomination and ministry should study this book. My only regret is that there are 4-5 books from John Maxwell I wanted to site, but didn’t have the space.
On March 19, 2013 12:31 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
Obviously the Cardinals acted in record fashion. I personally believe the greatest thing the new Pope could do is to pull back the curtain and let sunshine come in on the hierarchy and organizational structure. Every leader knows that sunshine is the greatest antiseptic, and transparency is the greatest cleanser. I referenced that the new Pope would need to be willing to cleanse the temple as Jesus did. I believe this is something that Catholics and Non-Catholics would take seriously. You correctly asked, “who among us would accomplish that?” That is a good question for all of our organizations and ministries. Righteousness is never neutral and never silent.
On March 19, 2013 12:30 PM, Dr. Jay Strack said:
Well, having been a teenager who lived in a couple rough areas and having gone through 6 broken families, the odds are great you probably would not care what happens in Rome unless you happen to have a Catholic background or have someone significant influence in your life who cares for you. Growing up in Florida as a young teenager, I didn’t even care what was happening in Miami, because of the issues of broken homes I was going through. However, it sounds as though the Cardinals made a significant choice because Francis has devoted his life and ministry to the poor, and down traughted. As a teenager, once my life was in many broken pieces, it was then that I heard the message that Jesus is alive. The message of hope and Jesus was the game changer for me.
On March 13, 2013 12:39 PM, Michael Sauls said:
Very well done. We are sending it around to others. Frankly, as a non-Catholic, it is hard for me to suggest that the Cardinals must deal directly with the problems within the church (an institution of man) while focused on the Kingdom of God and what He would have us do in the 21st Century. Everyone can agree on praying for wisdom. I was thinking of the adding to your blog: Jesus wants us, first, to love God, and, as His hands and feet, to reach people outside the church, where they live, in a relevant manner. With prayer and supplication, church decision-makers must know and deal with the past, but look to the future as the Body of Christ moves forward in a meaningful and appropriate way.
On March 13, 2013 12:38 PM, Dan Hall said:
Dr Jay Strack has been a significant voice in my life for over 30 years. He’s still sharing ideas and perspectives, specifically as he seeks to shape and motivate the next generation, in order to see Christ’s heart and kingdom demonstrated. Please read his recent blog on the Papal situation; pretty cool stuff for a very conservative leader! Also consider his Student Leadership University. My daughter was forever impacted by it.
On March 13, 2013 12:38 PM, Don Abraham said:
A well written article with great clarity and honesty Thanks so much for sending it to me. Thanks for your insights and suggestion for prayer for the next pontiff. While we have numerous denominations and non-demoninational churches, the Pope has the opportunity world wide to be the focus for all Christians and especially for evangelization. I pray for a St. Francis like spirit in the next pontiff. We do need to make war against the evil one who got into the church pastoral care and hierarchy to further divide and conquer Christianity. The only solution as the article “White Smoke” emphasizes and I know we both wholeheartedly agree is that like Paul we must proclaim that “Jesus is Lord” (while praying night and day for revival as secularization seeps through the whole Christian world). As pointed out by Dr. Jay we need to provide young discouraged leaders with the armor of faith (Eph. 6:10) in testimony presently and especially in history to let them know and realize from past difficult times in Christianity that Jesus is with us to the end of the age. The gates of hell will not prevail against HIs church! I truly believe the Spirit of our bible study group is amazing in that the witness is so strong and unified. It gives me great hope that we will prevail in our witnesses.
On March 12, 2013 1:10 PM, Barry S. said:
Jay, this is a fantastic post. The secular media coverage of this transition is unpresidented. The “why” question is relevant with a keen awareness of spiritual matters for this generation. Significant conversations are being held around biblical worldview.
On March 12, 2013 11:13 AM, John M. said:
Great article! Our girls were blessed and had many questions as we read and discussed it as a family last night.
On March 12, 2013 11:13 AM, John H. said:
Great thoughts for our Catholic brothers. Oh, the many times I regret not asking the “why” questions throughly enough before diving into ignorant faith ventures instead of intelligent ones.
On March 11, 2013 5:03 PM, Rick White said:
Great post. This needs to be read and considered by all leaders in the Christian community not only the College of Cardinals.
On March 11, 2013 4:25 PM, B.H. said:
Powerful, the Catholic church & the protestant church should take note of these questions. I would ask, if you could only make one decision, one change or take one decisive action as the leader of the catholic church what would it be? I believe the answer would tell the direction, passion and heart of their next leader.
On March 11, 2013 3:53 PM, Dr. Akin said:
I’ve posted this, well said Dr. Jay.
On March 11, 2013 3:52 PM, Philip Dunn said:
Great article, I will share this with my students!
On March 11, 2013 3:50 PM, Jerry said:
Awesome article, Retweeting it!!
On March 11, 2013 3:48 PM, M.C. said:
This is a time for prayer, the stakes are high!
On March 11, 2013 3:47 PM, Dr. Mullins said:
Very timely! I’m Guatemala reading this!
On March 11, 2013 3:46 PM, Dr. Brooks said:
First, asking questions is a great indication of a learner. So I applaud every teenager who is inquisitive on the question of the appointment of the papal succession. However All questions need to be view in light of the absolute of scripture. The Bible is clear that God uses people, however not just those of prominence but every believer regardless of their platform. In the OT David was 17 when God called him, similarly Jeremiah appeared as a kid in Jer 1 & Josiah was 8.Likewise Timothy was young in the NT God calls everyone to be faithful in service. To be an example in life. And to realize Integrity is a non negotiable. It matters because its a small reminder that God wants to use everyone.
On March 11, 2013 3:42 PM, Bill Hulse said:
Great post! I love the bold yet gracious challenge!
On March 11, 2013 3:34 PM, Mark M. said:
Jay, this is excellent! I love the quote you used from Simon Sinek which is probably the best book on Leadership I have read. If they have the courage to put in a transformational leader the many churches and denominations in the US and West will do the same!
On March 11, 2013 11:29 AM, Maurilio said:
My question would be “What would be the one thing the new Pope could accomplish that would have the greatest impact on the world?” And the follow up question would be, “then who among you could accomplish that?”
On March 8, 2013 5:12 PM, Angelo said:
If you were a teenager living in the inner city from a broken family, would you care about what happens in Rome in the next weeks?

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