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Realignment in Leadership By Larry Gadbaugh

Realignment in Leadership is Essential

Realignment is an essential discipline for leaders. Especially coming through this season of moral, cultural, economic, political, and ideological upheaval.

It’s Necessary

Realignment is a necessary part of vehicle maintenance. Especially when we’re constantly running into potholes and hitting road debris.

We recently took our car in for an alignment. A few weeks later, my wife insisted she was hearing a strange noise in the steering. Her antennae are sharper than mine. When we returned to the shop, they discovered something hadn’t been attached properly. If we had continued driving the misalignment would have eventually caused us to crash.

I now salvage my wounded pride after receiving my wife’s “I told you so,” by reflecting on this parable for leadership.

It’s Risky

Misalignment can be risky business.

I don’t need to belabor that our culture has become utterly misaligned. We’ve lost our bearings and our marbles. The gears are grinding, and the steering wheel has been detached, but the engine is running full throttle through the guardrails. (For essential insight into our cultural misdirection, Carl Trueman’s Strange New World is essential reading!)

As Christian steward-leaders of our families, ministries, and businesses we cannot presume that the misalignment of every public institution hasn’t affected our alignment. We are leading amid conditions that are so susceptible to mission drift.

It Requires More

Realignment requires more than singing, “Jesus takes the wheel.” (I tried that once, but the officer ticketed me anyway).

Tap the brakes, get off the auto-pilot, and change GPS programs. Recalculate to our eternal perspective.

A good friend leads a ministry (not a mechanic shop) that has re-branded itself as “Align.” Her staff and Board are committed to aligning themselves in their relationship with God, with each other, and with their mission and vision. Good call.

Be Strategic

Coming to year-end, many of us are in process of strategic planning. Our ministry’s strategic plan from 2020-22 needs serious revision. When our programs hit the ditch of government mandates, we pivoted, like many others, to stay on course with our mission. 

We want to utilize our annual strategic planning process as an ideal opportunity for realignment – with God, our mission, the Gospel, our core convictions and values, and our strategic partnerships. Of course, this will include the typical SWOT analysis, etc. But in this season of moral chaos, we recognize our need for even greater discernment for any areas of misalignment.

Revisit the Basics

We’re asking ourselves some basic questions.

Personally, are each of us living in alignment with Christ’s call on our lives individually? Are we abiding in Christ’s love, by deepening the direction of his word in us? (John 15:1-17).

Together, we can trust God to “search us and know our hearts; test us and know my concerns. See if there is any misaligned way in us, and lead us in your eternal way.” (Psalm 139:23-24, my paraphrase).

Am I aligned with God’s eternal perspective, or am I misaligned by our culture’s compass? Am I building bigger barns but neglecting becoming rich towards God (Luke 12:16-21)? Do I need to re-present my body (and the rest of me) to God as a living sacrifice, recharging my practice of renewing my mind and affections in God’s grace and truth? (Romans 12:1-2).

These are basic questions for us as leaders. But when we’re navigating through a destruction derby, we need to return to basics.

Trust the Leader

My wife and I were driving through the worst dust storm we ever experienced between Eastern Washington and Portland. Visibility was less than 10 feet in the middle of the day. We had to stop periodically and open the passenger door to look for the white line on the side of the road to make sure we weren’t driving off the road or into oncoming traffic. We finally lined up behind a semi. We stayed on his tail until we broke out of the storm.

Realignment with Jesus will get us where he’s taking us, and those we lead.

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Larry Gadbaugh serves as the Executive Director of Guidelight and Executive Director of Oregon Pregnancy Centers Association. He and Diane have been married 45 years. They have 5 adult children and 3 grandchildren.


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