Bold leadership has been an earmark of the church of the reformation since the 14th century, and that legacy continues to strengthen Northeastern Iowa Synod rostered leaders in their ministries today.
“This seems like a little thing to us today, but that was a really big change back then,” Kleinhans explains. “In the Catholic Church, they continued to give only bread to lay people until the 1960s.”
“Nobody wants to be killed, but part of the behavior with Hus and Luther is that what they believed in was more important than their desire to be liked or popular,” Kleinhans said. “Hus’ bold leadership was that he was willing to go against the grain, stand up under a lot of pressure for what he thought was right, and put his life on the line for what he believed.”
Very few church leaders today are in situations where their lives are on the line, but Kleinhans cites the Ebola crisis as a good example of mission and medical personnel who understand their calling to care for others with Ebola.
“It can put their own lives at risk, but they do what they have been called to do,” she says. “Their own life isn’t what’s most important; their calling to serve others is, and sometimes that’s risky.”
“People in need of healing and liberation and hope are listened to, and bold leaders are compelled to respond and take action,” Ullestad says. “The work and witness of this kind of leadership continues even beyond death, in the same way, that those who were inspired by Jan Hus continued his work for generations after his martyrdom until the next bold leader, Martin Luther, was called to renew the church.”