Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World


Written by: on April 16, 2021

A leader who has surrendered their dependence to God is one who is released (untethered), lives undefended and free. Affliction can change and break this enlightened orientation. God, help those who love You and have set their hearts on You.

Of this kind of leadership, that is one that has ‘let-go’ and fallen for higher leading, one that is entrusted into the arms of the Creator, set apart from common systems of this ‘place of time’, Simon Walker offers that it ‘subverts expectations of power and self-sufficiency in favour of a life of vulnerability and dependence.’1Vulnerability is risky anywhere, it takes a chance, for the possibility of an opening, for the potential of pain. Being undefended is a call to a way of life, integrity in leadership, all mediums for acting aside (ie. frontstage and backstage). Pretense is not sustainable.

Leonard Cohen has written that ‘there is crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.’2 Pain and suffering create a thin place, perhaps even a crack, where the light can get in. There is an awakening in this story of weakness, powerlessness. The pain is not pleasant, yet it gives way to a new thing. Every rejection, stronger. Remember Joseph, in the presence of his brothers bowing, ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’3 That’s how the light gets in.

Brokenness is a painful state to be in. There is a resolve, in undefended leaders, to be able to withstand strong opposing force. Unfortunately, it is the passionate commitment of the undefended leader, demonstrating an immoveable stance, non-violent resistance, which may be an attractant for persecution by threatened opposing forces.

Undefended leaders, following truth, have grit. Walker refers to the courageous leadership of Jesus as RWX (backstage, weak and expanding) and regards him as a Self-Emptying leader ‘fully engaged, fully present.’4The love of God breaks through into creation, presenting hope for the oppressed and salvation for the world, through the crack of the cross. This story ‘speaks to the deepest needs of the human heart’6 as Walker determines, ‘triumph in the face of disaster, of strength in the face of weakness and of gain in the face of loss.’6

There’s something else that speaks to us through the narrative of crucifixion and resurrection. This is love. With regards to Jesus, his followers and those undefended leaders built likewise, love is the definitive explanation. Love every step of the way, through every emotion (intelligently displayed or not), with every person and issue honestly faced, in every lived example of Walker’s leaders. Love.

Love inspires honest leadership. Hierarchical arrangements don’t do this, really. The emphasis here, is toward the unmechanised, deeper than accountable, beyond integral inspiration of love breathed honesty in leadership; one that is Original. Love stripped young Giovanni (St. Francis) bare of attachments before his father. Love was in the pain I was bullied by in my youth. Love was a light through the cracks of these, weakening me into a ‘more’ untouchable powerlessness. Love is a bullet that seeks to silence truth. Love is in the scourging and the nails. Love searches into the darkest, unknown places for the shock of light breaking through. Love inspires honest leadership.

I am curious about love and the place love holds in the life of the undefended leader. Unique not to the undefended leader is the experience of love through being broken to pieces. There is a thin space that the honest leader abides in, it can be a painful state of perpetual vulnerability and willingness to be broken. The undefended leader is willing to endure pain for love, that by such an offering, a light might shine through.

Weakness, like pain, is not attractive. ‘But, God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.’7 We have faced rejection and marginalisation by stronger things, I live thinly to this and alongside such dejected ones. I feel far ‘less than’ than those who walk in a flare of ‘greater than’. Sometimes, we can feel like we have been left so alone. The community I walk with are ones who have been made to know of vulnerability and dependence deeply. I am led by them; and, with my siblings of shame, even Jesus and Job, our undignified anthem of love rises through the cracks, ‘though you slay me I will trust you Lord.’8



  1. Walker, Simon P, Leading with Nothing to Lose: Training in the Exercise of Power (The Undefended Leader Trilogy Book 2), Piquant Editions, Kindle Edition, Chapter 16.
  2. Leonard Cohen, “Leonard Cohen – Anthem (w/lyrics) London 2008,” May 22, 2015, music video, 9:33. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wRYjtvIYK0.
  3. Genesis 50:20, NIV.
  4. Walker, Leading with Nothing to Lose, Ch 13.
  5. Luke 22:42, NIV.
  6. Walker, Leading with Nothing to Lose, Ch13.
  7. 1 Corinthians 1:27, NIV.
  8. Job 13:5, KJV.

About the Author

Chris Pollock

Dad of Molly Polly Pastor at the Mustard Seed Street Church Trail Runner

7 responses to “dusty”

  1. Greg Reich says:

    What role does love play in the life of an undefended leader? Part of this question is what definition of love is an undefended leader going to use. We live in a culture that defines love as an emotion and an action that never offends or hurts. The problem is today we have very little patience for tough love. For love the prohibits and much as it permits. A leader has to discern which is appropriate for the situation. The wrong decision can enable destructive behavior, yet the right decision can empower and encourage healthy behavior. How do you balance either approach in your ministry at mustard seed?

  2. Darcy Hansen says:

    “Love inspires honest leadership.” Gosh. There’s so much to unpack there. So good. But I’m wondering more about this line: “Love is a bullet that seeks to silence truth” Can you pull that one apart for me a bit more, please, Chris? That whole paragraph on love is beautiful and profound- just really want to see how love silencing truth fits in there.

    • Chris Pollock says:

      What was intended for evil, God turns for good.

      Love in the bullet that seeks to silence the truth.

      Love…even, in the bullet…that makes the love of the one beholding the truth…their message…so much more…the message of love, their truth, extends because of love.

      There’s love in the bullet…

      I would prefer another way. The bullet that hit MLK, Ghandi…the cross could be considered ‘a bullet’ of sorts.

      Hope that helps…?

  3. John McLarty says:

    Jesus is the embodiment of God’s love. And I think Walker lifts up Jesus as the ultimate example of “undefended.” There’s a special peace that only comes from that place of deep love, assurance, and purpose. It’s that love that enables one to pray for their enemies and forgive those who do harm. That love is elusive, but it’s worth pursuing because it transforms us and the world.

  4. Jer Swigart says:

    Do you think that “untethered leaders” are those who clip the tethers or have them clipped for them? Both/and?

  5. Shawn Cramer says:

    I’m glad you brought up grit. I forget if we talked about that explicitly with this group as we’ve had so many conversations at this point, but it is certainly needed in this time. In innovations, one person mentioned that creativity is wonder and rigor. I could probably substitute “grit.”

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