One Nun’s Thoughts on New Forms of Leadership in Church

In a recent article in “Sojourners”, Sister Rose Marie Berger offered some deep insights around leadership, observations that resonate with our lived experience here at NewChurch LIVE.    The takeaways ….

Leadership Must Orient Towards the Future

Sister Joan Chitister wrote, “The purpose of leadership is not to make the present bearable but to make the future possible.”  It is so easy to orient church work towards the past.  That is where comfort lies … and it where we can be readily lulled into church-as-hospice, church leadership as helping a congregation to slowly and painlessly “die” vs. an urgent push to birth into new possibilities.

Leadership Must Orient Towards Energy

Leaders must understand energy, not position or rank, as power.  “Counter-cultural, mutual, relational, it is the authentic power integral to the transformation of our church and of our world.”  Formal or informal power … energy is what does it.  We know instantly on walking into a church.  Is it filled with energy or not?  Those with little to no energy but just filled with a dull duty have little future.  Those with energy, that grit, that vibrancy, attract regardless of the wrapper.

Leadership Must Orient Towards Process

Pastor’s job … to inspire and equip.  That calls for process.  Not a process of the answer.  But a process of empowered engagement and trusting partnership.  “Process is primary, results are secondary, because process builds creativity and experimentation into the system…. The role of the leader is assisting the body to have the imagination to bring the group into the future it is headed towards.”



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