Leading Leaders: A Conversation With Steve Brown

I have known Steve Brown for about 15 years. We met when he was the associate pastor at Church on the Rock and I was the associate pastor at Mount Hamilton Baptist Church, both in Hamilton, ON. We continued to encounter one another as he took a position within our denominational leadership. However, I got to know him the most when I enrolled in the Arrow Leadership Program, which at the time he was the vice-president of. I have asked Steve to share some of his story and his leadership insight. I would also like to encourage you to check out Arrow Leadership, the ministry that Steve is now the president of.

Steve BrownCould you tell us about how you came to faith in Jesus?

My mom helped plant seeds of faith in my early years and Christian friends in high school reached out to me, but I wasn’t a Christ-follower. In fact, I was a fairly assertive skeptic. I peppered my Christian friends with questions in hope of shaking their faith. However, the night of my 18th birthday, something got my attention. My father had a major heart attack while I waited in the next room at the hospital. It was surreal and I did the only thing I could do to help – pray. My dad came through that night and I was convicted by what I had done. I recognized that I had been ignoring God, making fun of him and that all my questions and objections about faith were just a smokescreen. So, with the help of my friends I decided to see if there were answers to my questions and I became a Christ-follower just before I left home for university.

You worked for Josh McDowell Ministries. What was the most important thing that you learned from that chapter of your ministry?

Josh McDowell’s book were a key part in my faith story. So, when I was sensing a call to ministry toward the end of university, I naively wrote to Josh McDowell and asked if I could travel with him and learn along the way.

To my surprise, I received a response inviting me to apply for a year-long internship program. After applying and being accepted I had the privilege of travelling all over the world and learning a great deal about apologetics and speaking. But the most important lesson I learned was one I never expected. The biggest lesson was watching Josh love his wife and spend time with his four children. From a front-row seat, I watched him live out his own words: “I never let my family come before my ministry. My family is my first ministry.” Josh walked the talk and I’m thankful everyday as a husband and dad for his example.

You are the president of Arrow Leadership. Could you tells us what Arrow is and why you think leaders should consider the program?

Arrow LeadershipIn Isaiah 49:2, the servant of the Lord says, “he polished me like an arrow and concealed me in his quiver.” Following this verse, Arrow Leadership is focused around God “polishing” his leaders and preparing them for his purposes. Founded in 1991 by evangelist Leighton Ford, our focus is to to develop Christlike servant leaders who are “led more by Jesus, lead more like Jesus and lead more to Jesus.”

Over the last twenty years we’ve seen God polish over 800 leaders through the Arrow Leadership Program in North America and 800 more through programs around the world. Our approach is to bring together proven leaders and journey in community over 15 months (while continuing to serve in ministry). It’s a highly personalized, intentional and wholistic process designed to nurture spiritual depth, cultivate godly character, promote relational health, equip for evangelism and increase leadership competencies.

To learn more about the Arrow Leadership Program, please visit www.arrowleadership.org.

What is your dream for the future of Arrow?

One of my favourite quotes is from Greg Ogden when he writes, “Jesus had enough vision to think small.” In other words, Jesus’ mind-blowing vision to change the world and impact eternity was primarily lived out in his deep investment in just twelve future leaders. It seems counter-intuitive but in God’s kingdom an investment in a few can have a mighty impact. My dream is that through Arrow God will continue to transform a few leaders who will have an exponential impact. This impact will be experienced in the leader’s marriage and family, team, organization and community.

If you could pass on one piece of advice for Christian leaders, what would it be?

Everyone has a vision of God and how we see God shapes us. It impacts our thinking and our actions. Though it may be subtle at times, our vision of God profoundly influences how we live and lead. In fact, as A. W. Tozer writes in The Knowledge of the Holy, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

Though we often think about God’s vision for his people (corporate vision) or God’s vision for individuals (personal vision), we need to keep focused on growing our vision of God. In reflecting on the Church, Tozer wrote, “To regain her lost power, the Church must see heaven opened and have a transforming vision of God.” That quote should stir every Christian leader to ask, “Do I have a transforming vision of God? Am I sharing it with others?”

To subscribe to Steve’s free e-resources on leadership, please visit www.sharpeningleaders.com.

Thank you Steve.

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