I believe church in mission demands a different paradym for leadership. As we mobilize and organize church life in and among the world for engagement with the world and what God is doing, the demands and dynamics of leadership must be different. In simplist of terms:
- Leadership must migrate from a hierarchical to down operation for efficiency to a polycentric operation where the fivefold gifts (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) work to equip and mobilize all the gifts in the local body.
- Leadership must migrate from a paid professional clergy that sopends all its time in maintenance functions/ministry of existing Christians, to a bi-vocational flexible clergy that is able to earn (at least some of) its financial support in the marketplace. I believe this new relationship of money between people and leader changes the dynamic of an organization is many many ways that lead to mission.
- Leadership must migrate from a hierarchical top down authority where decisions are made by a single person and carried out by an underling staff, to a mutually submissive leadership where Jesus is allowed to guide and direct and disperse authority into the new territories (that any single person may not see)
I believe this is what Scripture teaches. I believe this is what history teaches in the different cultural relationships the church has had in the past 2000 years. I do not believe hierarchical, professional full time paid clergy is necessarily bad. God has used it and there are numerous examples of it in the Bible. But when the church gets dispersed, mobilized for mission, I believe leadership is different. It’s so obvious throughout the Bible, that many years later, I wonder how I never saw it before (Anabaptists including John Howard Yoder had a hand in teaching me)
We’re doing our Missional Learning Commons on these subjects next month. We’re having three sessions on Saturday Oct 27 on each one of these leadership issues. Each session begins with a twenty-five minute theological intro, then 2 to 3 testimonials on how this has been actually lived, and then an open 40 minutes for questions. I will be MC’ing. J R Woodward (who authored this book) will be coming to lead the polycentric session (as well as a Friday nite session), I’ll be speaking as well as many more.
Spread the word eh?