It was 1901 and Amy had just returned from a year of ministry to the villages when she was greeted by a sweet, seven-year-old girl, Preena (or “Pearl Eyes”). She had escaped from the temple and looked to Amy for help. Displeased temple people came screaming and yelling–but slowly their anger subsided and the crowd dispersed. Amy was left with Preena. And so began the work of what would later be known as Dohnavur Fellowship.
When asked by one of her young women, “Amma, what does it mean to be a leader?” Amy Carmichael was heard to reply: “Be the first wherever there is a sacrifice to be made, a self-denial to be practiced, or an impetus to be given.”
OK, call me old-fashioned, but that smells like Christ-centered change-the-world servant leadership to me. The funny thing is, I can’t name many missions organizations or churches that would knowingly allow someone to be sent halfway around the world, to a dangerous place, to start a ministry or a movement, by themselves, today. Can you? Did I mention that Amy remained in India for 55 years, until her death at 83, without a single furlough? The work at Dohnavur continues to this day, over a century later. Check their site.
Have we lost the leadership edge?
What is the edge? INITIATION. Change leadership is all about being the first wherever there is a sacrifice to be made, a self-denial to be practiced, or an impetus to be given.
Question for change agents: Do I see any place to initiate?