Leadership and 1,000 Points of No
Leading in the church context is completely different from leading in the business world. The top down, hierarchical leadership structure that dominates much of the corporate landscape will sometimes work in the church context… but it rarely lasts more than a season. In the corporate structure, people are engaged in a transaction of sorts: employees show up and work in exchange for money. In the church context, the congregation is engaged in a sort of mutual voluntary submission: your congregation voluntarily submits to your leadership, and in many polities church leadership submits to the congregation.
To be successful for the long term in the church context we need to allow our understanding of mutual voluntary submission to shape the way that we lead. In our Coaching Cohort last night we touched on this by sharing a video clip of Jim Collins:
Collins describes church leadership quite clearly: we work to create the conditions needed for decisions to be made. Leading well in the church context requires that we tend to the spiritual, relational, and missional climates of the church, creating an environment that lends itself to listening to, and following, our God. Leading well in the church also means that we set aside our needs to be “The Man”, the one who makes all the decisions and gets all the glory… instead we are to engage in mutual voluntary submission, working towards crafting the environment that allows your congregation to willingly follow you as you pursue Christ.
Engaging in the mutual voluntary submission that is church leadership is by no means an easy calling. There are times of frustration, times of exhaustion, and times of emotional neediness when we want nothing more than to make a decision because I said so. Yet our calling is to be a servant leader: modeling our leadership off of the one who had infinite power to dictate how things would be… yet chose to be a suffering servant.
Why should they follow YOU?