Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

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

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

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.”


The Challenge of Leadership in Churches: Thoughts on Mandela’s Legacy

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Thomas Friedman wrote brilliantly in a recent editorial centered on Nelson Mandela’s leadership legacy.   Mandela’s leadership flourished because …

  1. It was based on moral authority
  2. He challenged both his supporters and opponents in order to get both sides to do something big and hard together
  3. He trusted people with the truth, even the unpleasant truth
  4. He did big things by making himself small, creating a hopeful space where enough people trusted each other so they could unite and then do the hard work of transition together.  He did not make himself the hope of South Africa but instead worked at inspiring hope in others
  5. He asked people to transcend their past, not wallow in it
  6. His endeavor was to elevate people not just shift political constituencies

The article closes with these words.  People “are craving genuine leadership – leaders who lead by their moral authority to inspire, to elevate others and to enlist us in a shared journey.”   Those words speak movingly for a role of leaders in the church in general and in NewChurch LIVE in specific.  If you are reading this, you are one.

There is no escaping a simple, joyous observation.  Mandela’s model, those 6 points, echo Christ’s, a rather effective leader in his own right!  It invites us to yes, have our particular interests and passions, but most importantly to think for the whole, to be the breath of inspiration and hope, and in the end to truly lead in its greatest sense by allowing others the space to hear their call of a life beyond just themselves.