Dr. John Kaiser, the president of the Fellowship, takes issue with my post last week on pastors and losers. Dr. Kaiser’s response is worth checking out. As is the response from my friend Bryan, who leaves a comment we can all agree on.
The bigger issue, from what I can tell, is what Christian leadership looks like and how it functions. Alan Roxburgh writes:
Leadership models are borrowed from psychology (strategist, therapist), medicine (health and healer), the business world (strategist, coach, manager), and the educational world (teacher). A lot of congregations and leaders have been socialized to view those models as the only viable ones…
A congregation called us to ask how it could remove the current pastor because she wasn’t an effective change agent. The job description they developed called for an entrepreneurial leader who could make things happen – clearly a business model…the leadership models currently shaping the church are inadequate to forming a missional church. In their own context and setting – medicine, the business world, counseling – these images of leadership are appropriate, but when the church borrows and applies such models to the community of God’s people it misses an opportunity to shape leadership around the biblical sense, in which leadership is about cultivating an environment that innovates and releases the missional imagination present among a community of God’s people.
This is certainly a live discussion in many quarters. What is unique about Christian leadership? What role does business thinking play? How important is leadership to the success of the church? Is leadership (as we normally define it) the key factor in the times and places where the church is thriving? How does the whole idea of God using weakness, not strength, factor in?
I hope to return to some of these questions. They’re certainly worth wrestling with.