This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
Robert Quinn describes three types of leadership in his book Deep Change. The first type of leadership is technical, focusing on personal survival and technical competence. The second type of leadership is transactional, still focusing on personal survival, but more responsive and interpersonal and political. Most leaders fall into these first two types of leadership. He then describes a third type of leadership, which he calls transformational leadership. In this rare type of leadership, personal survival is not the issue. The core values and vision realization are far more important. This type of leadership is self-authorizing. Any person, regardless of position, can lead tremendous change, although they might not survive the process. Quinn writes:
The first assumption of the transformational paradigm is the most radical and the hardest to understand. This paradigm does not assume personal survival but instead vision realization at any cost. If the vision lives and thrives, it does not matter if the leader is fired, assassinated, or humiliated. The vision itself is far more important than personal survival.
Jesus was a transformational leader. He also unleashed a group of other leaders who became transformational, who gave themselves to mission, even if it cost them their lives. A technical or transactional leader will never lead a church to die to itself. It takes a transformational leader to do this. Unfortunately, transformational leaders are rare. But anyone can become one. The most important factor in creating a dying church (one that is dead to itself and its own survival) is always first dying to oneself. This quote gives me hope. You don't need to hold a church office to lead a church to die to itself; this type of leadership is self-authorizing. Anyone can do it. The key seems to be a willingness to put mission ahead of personal survival. The person who does this can become a transformational leader. Want to be a transformational leader who helps a church die to itself and live to Christ and his mission? It starts with dying to self.