I thought I’d up the stakes after my last post. Today I want to talk about leadership. More
specifically that I don’t think I agree with it in the church. Well not in its current predominant form and understanding anyway. Now let me first confess that I am not a ‘models’ kind of thinker, I don’t do lifeshapes, purpose drivens or 7 steps to becoming a more efficient robot. Having said that it seems that the phrase leadership has become something to add to your Christian event as a way of getting more people to come.
And that’s the thing – not everyone is a leader. Nor do they need to be. The trouble I have with the leadership idea is firstly that the Church seems to be trying to emulate the sort of leader that is popular in the business world, and secondly that recognising yourself as a leader ultimately, I believe, lends to thinking more about yourself and your ‘skills’ than anybody else.
The emulation of the secular world is a peculiar one. Where the church should have been leading the way in promoting true definitions of words like ‘vision’ and demonstrating a pastoral style of leadership, we seem to have instead adopted a secular definition of leadership and vision. Ultimately meaning decisions are made and actions taken by the chosen ones, who have been deemed ‘leaders’. Churches changing their deacons and elders to ‘leadership teams’ and alike. I mean, I guess it’s easy to understand, but I’m training as a Baptist Minister and I thought one of the defining characteristics of a Baptist church was the members meeting discerning God’s will together?
Secondly I find it easy enough to spend most of my time thinking about me without the added leader badge. I don’t see myself as a leader but as someone lucky enough to be employed (hopefully) by a group of people to help them grow together and connect with God, serving their community as they do. Ah, you say, you mean an ‘enabler’! NO! I don’t that is just another self justifying label.
I don’t think Jesus or the New Testament actually give us any ‘leadership’ models, I don’t think Jesus sat down and decided how his actions would be interpreted by a conference of 5,000 people who think they are leaders. I don’t think Jesus expected leaders to change the world. He hoped people would.
I read a quote the other day that said ‘leader is only mention 6 times in the Bible, servant is mentioned over 900 times.’ Servant, not servant leader, just servant. Very interesting.