Church Revitalization Lessons from The Lion King
Last month, prior to posting a couple of cool blogs about basketball and spirituality, I posted about negative attributes of a lion in a Disney movie and how his assessing his negative leadership practices can help us in the area of church revitalization. Today, I will address some positive leadership lessons from one of my favorite lions, Simba, in Disney’s The Lion King (1994).
Since this classic is over 20 years old, I will assume you’ve watched it for the sake of brevity. Under Mufasa’s leadership, there was pride at pride rock. However, due to unfortunate events, Mufasa’s untimely death and young Simba running in fear, a leadership vacuum sucked Uncle Scar and the hyenas into leadership. Previously, herds were willing to sacrifice to complete the circle of life. Contrastingly, under Scar’s domineering leadership, he forced others to hunt (different than empowered delegation), but the herds had departed because of the negative attitude.
After Nala geographically wandered from the pride to find help, she finds Simba and tells him of the disaster at their home. Simba decided he would go back to his home and be the king he was meant to be, after an inspiring message from his father in the clouds. As Nala and Simba looked over the broken homeland, Nala rhetorically asked, “It’s awful isn’t it?” She then followed up by asking, “What made you come back?” Simba responded “This is my kingdom; if I don’t fight for it, who will?” Surprisingly, Simba’s life-long companions and mentors, Timon and Pumbaa, made the trek to the rock. Pumbaa stated, “At your service, my liege”. Timon then stated, “Ugh, we’re gonna fight your uncle…for this?” Simba replied, “Yes, Timon, this is my home.” Timon, after a sarcastic filler, replied, “Well Simba, if it’s important to you, we’re with you till the end.”
Fast forward several months, and the pride is back in the pride. Obviously, this is where the analogy breaks down between lions and church. It takes much longer to reestablish pride and life in a church, but the rest of the comparison works. When the team works together, the church thrives. That is, until death and fleeing in fear leave a vacancy in authority. The person may have an agenda or may be incompetent, but either way, the leadership vacuum will suck people into leadership who do not need to be there. This leadership vacuum will eventually be the demise of the congregation. That is, unless someone hears from the Father in Heaven and follows His command of taking responsibility for the homeland. People around this new leadership figure may not see the potential, but as long as the leader continues to be sacrificial and follow the command of the Father, the pride can come back to the pride.
In our lives, our families, our church, and our community, others may say, “We are gonna fight your uncle…for this?” Will you be willing to say, “Yes, this is my home.” May God call you and empower you to fight for your life, the life of your family, and the life of your church and community because pride can make its way back to the pride.