Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Monday, October 20, 2008

Leadership - The Church's Biggest Failing

I attended a Forge intensive in Perth on the weekend. Hamo asked me to do a presentation on the stuff we've been doing in Bunbury with Alternate-Or Community, involving ourselves in the lives of marginalised people, and so was able to kill two birds with one stone and sit in on some of the presentations.

One that got me thinking was presented by Brad Flynn and focussed on co-dependency in leadership. In the context of Brad's presentation, co-dependency related to the way congregations draw their self-value from the pastor or leaders, and the way the leaders have to be "needed" by their congregations in order to find value in themselves.

This got me thinking about the "clergy/laity" divide again. It's something that for many years has made my stomach churn.

It is my opinion that any view of leadership that embraces, either purposefully or unconsciously, the idea of there being any place for an "anointed" priestly class within the church, is fundamentally flawed.

I would even go as far as saying it is one of the modern churches greatest failings and is the cause of many of the issues we face in our established congregations in terms of lack of commitment and involvement in the life of the church and the broader community. It creates a shallow, comfortable environment which actively abrogates the responsibility of all believers to live their lives as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It also forces those who challenge this way of thinking to the margins of the local church or out of it all together, thus stripping it of valuable resources and allowing the flawed philosophical, ecclesial and theological premises at play to have free reign.

CEO leadership models in the church are sinful. Plain and simple. The sooner leaders put the gospel before job security, power and control, or even before the expectations of the institution itself, the better. Leaders, we need to empower our fellow disciples by being the first to take this stand. To be willing to put aside the power structures which create a comfortable secure environment for us, for the sake of the gospel and the future of our local incarnations of the church. Encouraging and facilitating a paradigm shift among those we serve.

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