While I was reading “Jesus Manifesto”, one of the things that kept coming up was the idea of leadership. There were a few times that the writers seemed to imply that we are more focused on leadership in the Church than we are Jesus. They pointed out the pile of materials you can find at your local Christian bookstore on “leadership” versus the amount of writing or dialog taking place about Jesus.
There may be some truth to that. Even more true, and maybe more to the point, is that many people have been hurt deeply by what people called “leadership” at the time they were hurting.
In the church that I’m a part of we’ve been trying an experiment. Some of us know it, some of us are just unsuspecting test subjects.
I’ve seen leaders who have been so hurt in the Church that they become extremely controlling in an effort to make sure that neither they nor anyone else, gets hurt that way again. But unfortunately, what we fear we tend to attract.
I’ve seen leaders who are so full of themselves they have turned a question, a challenge or a confrontation about their own actions and behavior into a “spiritual authority” matter. To challenge them is to reject God, the Father, Himself and His “ordained” structure of “headship”.
I’ve seen leaders, so eager to be listened to and followed that they answered everyone’s cry for a “king” like all the other churches have only to find themselves socially and employment-wise torn down when the winds of whims shifted. Friends lost, job lost, heart lost.
I’ve seen leaders who made the equation very simple: like me = liking Jesus, dislike me = disliking Jesus.
I’ve seen people in the Church say they want “strong leadership” but really mean “someone who will tell us exactly what we want to hear.”
I’ve seen people in the Church say they want a leader who can grow their church, as if we’re some kind of manufacturing enterprise that pops out disciples like widgets. And we happily reject the greatest joy in life, sharing Jesus through our lives with the people around us, in favour of hiring a professional to create programs that will make us grow.
Here’s a video by Peter Rollins that says a little about what I think about Christian Leadership…
I’m grateful to be part of a community, a family of followers who are willing to try this a different way.