The “L” Word, pt. 2

Before you read this, know that I fully believe in Leadership, and fully adhere to what Peter tells us in his first letter to his churches in Turkey, so know that as you go into this.

So, what is leadership?  Is it the calling of a people to a specific mission or is it a releasing of a people to the mission they themselves are called to?  Or is it both?  Maybe there’s a third option.  I don’t know.  Here’s what I know, I get really nervous in the church realm when I hear phrases and words like, “holding people accountable” “…if we don’t, then they won’t…” “…God has given me a vision to….” “…MY church does this, YOUR church does this…”  “…vision statement…” “…measurables…”

Now, before someone jumps all over me for this, let me requote myself, “I get nervous” I didn’t make a blanket statement against these words and phrases, but rather, if we peak back through history, many of these words and phrases have been used to cover up our need to control (which is why I really believe in a plurality of leadership).

I guess (this probably comes from ignorance) my wonder is,  in a world where the idea of one man getting a vision, and calling people to serve that vision and make that vision happen, isn’t even question and is accepted as normal, where does that idea come from. I know, we read, through our Western, CEO driven, paradigm that this is exactly what Paul and other church leaders did, but the truth is, it just isn’t.

So, if the above terms aren’t in and of themselves ‘evil’ maybe we should look at a new or old way in which we should use them:

  1. holding people accountable” The truth is, I get this one, and sometimes use it to cover up my need to control things; but this is often times used, and could be translated as, “we need to make sure people are doing what we want them to do or else our vision won’t really happen.”  Now, I know, none of us would admit this, but the truth is, but the truth is, if we can’t ‘make people be accountable’ for what we need them to do for our vision to go forward… But from my experience, I can’t hold someone accountable, but someone who is wanting to change and grow, can hold themselves accountable through me, but it has to be from their innative…
  2. “…if we don’t, then they won’t…” assumes we are responsible for the church, but from what I read in it seems like even “if we don’t, and they don’t” that he still will…that would be great to rest in.
  3. “…God has given me a vision to….” I get this phrase, and I believe in personal calling and the Holy Spirit directing us, but again, based on our culture, I think a better way to say this is to say, first: Jesus has ONE vision for his church.  second, he has called our community to be an expression of that vision, in this locale, in this manner.
  4. “…MY church does this, YOUR church does this…” it’s Jesus’ church, we don’t have that right
  5. “…measurables…” This word scares me…it just does, because most of our measurables do two things: (1) Assumes we build the church not Jesus (2) would have counted many of our friends in the Bible as failures (3) and subverts any sort of measurables in the Bible from ‘sending’ to ‘gathering’ but, on a good note, does allow us to make more sense on why Jesus never got funding

I wonder what would happen if, as leaders, we saw ourselves as people who simply lead people to Jesus over and over and over through the gospels; trust the Holy Spirit to do what he wants to do in them; serve and help people into developing what Peter asks us to aim for; equip people to do the work of the ministry (I don’t think Paul had parking-ministry in mind); measure by our sending capacity; and focus on collectively being the image of God to the world around us in the areas of mercy, justice, and hope…I wonder what would happen…if this were the case, it seems like the Bible’s idea of leadership sounds more like servanthood as opposed to ruling…well, here’s to being naive…

This is why I hold to a plurality of leadership, as I believe that when we as leaders center around the Bible, balance each other out, that this type of church can happen…

I’m very thankful to be mentored by a couple men and work with a group of men who get this…

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