Defining Protagonist

It is very difficult to describe or define the word protagonist and all its possibilities, for it encompasses so many emotions, like fear, exhilaration, hope and hopelessness, sadness and joy. There are endless challenges and opportunities that a protagonist can be confronted with. Being a protagonist exposes our weaknesses and limitations, and at the same time, calls forth our God-given strengths. It invites us to go to a place we have never been before. We are forced to be proactive in order to embrace the challenges and difficulties. It calls out the greatness in each of us. At the same time it humbles us. It makes life exciting, adventurous, and meaningful. A protagonist leaves behind a legacy, a story, that invites others to enter in. It is a magnanimous response to life. How can we do this word justice? By taking the first step to explain it, no matter how difficult or impossible it seems.

Here is my first attempt to describe ‘protagonist.’ I will start by sharing the reflections of other people who have commented on this word. “[Being a] protagonist is different than being a leader,” was how Pat started off his comment on CCO’s 10 year vision. He continued, “As leaders we could easily wait for the opportunity to come to us, but as protagonists it’s an invitation to proactively go and seize opportunities.” At this point he had our attention, and he continued, “The call to be protagonists is very exciting and inspiring to me. ” All of us in that room shared his sentiment. The comments continued as more hands were raised. Johnny vulnerably expressed how he sees the call to be a protagonist as an invitation for him to step out of the shadows of others and to begin to take responsibility for the movement. There was united agreement that CCO is being called to take the lead in the mission of making Jesus known. A first-year staffer stood up, I am sure shaking in their boots, and forcefully exclaimed, “It is time for us to take our place in the world.” The conviction and the ownership of this vision was universal. There was a readiness in each person to embrace this role of being a protagonist.

What great potential and possibilities can be found in a room full of leaders, who are willing to become the leading characters in bringing about a great story of transformation and renewal!

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