Leadership Again – Part One
John Smulo is blogging about church leadership ‚Ä¶ again. Whilst I don‚Äôt entirely see eye-to-eye with John on this issue, I find his ideas and ruminations quite thought-provoking, as you can probably see from my responses on the question of leadership last year (here and here). In fact, there will be at least three posts […]
John Smulo is blogging about church leadership ‚Ä¶ again.
Whilst I don‚Äôt entirely see eye-to-eye with John on this issue, I find his ideas and ruminations quite thought-provoking, as you can probably see from my responses on the question of leadership last year (here and here). In fact, there will be at least three posts on the subject this time round, maybe more if the comment-conversation kicks off.
This time round, John has two key questions,
1. What does leadership not involve in your thoughts?
2. What does a reimagined leadership look like in theory and practice?
Well, to me leadership does not involve talking about leaders or leadership. Neither does it involve leadership conferences, leadership ‚Äúsummits,‚Äù or any other leadership paraphernalia. In my view, if you feel the need to call yourself a leader, or to mark out your status by referring to the people who work with you (or report to you, or rely on you) as leaders, you have disqualified yourself as a leader in my views.
It‚Äôs real simple; Jesus said the first shall be last – Paul said I must decrease so that he can increase.
When someone talks about their downward mobility, about the promotional, speaking and publication opportunities they have forgone to be focussed on their mission, about their way their calling makes it harder for them to get opportunities in the current status quo, about the real friction they have with received ways of working, then I find myself interested in listening. It seems to me that sort of thing means disavowing leadership-talk, at least in the conventional sense.
To me there is a very important distinction here. Are we talking about leadership as the courage to forge a new path that is worthy of following, or are we talking about leadership as the ability to make the system work for you?
I don‚Äôt hide my belief that a great deal of the leadership literature and debate in church circles today is about the latter. It‚Äôs ultimately self-serving and totally lacking in interest for me. I recall a few years back, hearing an Anglican minister who had grow up in the Baptist church talking about his decision to be ordained in the Anglican church. He said ‚Äúthe church of England is the best boat to fish from.‚Äù From the point of view of making the system work for you, being visionary and maybe even mission-minded, that is leadership.
It doesn‚Äôt work for me.
I‚Äôll admit that part of the reason for that is that even when I‚Äôve been in positions of ‚Äúleadership‚Äù I‚Äôve always felt an outsider. I felt like an outsider as a Pastor, as a Chaplain, as a Theological College Lecturer. I don‚Äôt trust the system, but perhaps more importantly, I don‚Äôt see it as fundamental to my faith to try and trust the system.
In fact, I‚Äôd go further and say I feel called to dis-trust the system, which carries with it the next step of distrusting approaches that are based on making the system work for me.
more to follow…
[tags] Leadership, Ministry, Ecclesiology [/tags]