Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Leadership Needs Changing and the Idolatry of the Church

More excerpts and commentary from Missional Renaissance: changing the scorecard for the church by Reggie McNeal. See posts below.

How often have you had the chance to visit these questions: What do you enjoy doing? Where do you see God at work right now? (especially outside "church"); What would you like to see God do in your life over the next six to twelve months? How can we help? How would you like to serve other people? How can we help? How can we pray for you?

Have "holy conversations" on these matters with one another and just watch church being born.

To incorporate this into what it means to be the church will mean leadership changes from being based in "church" to being based in the "kingdom" i.e. hurting groaning toward new creation world around where you are right now.

Side note: A lot of all this missional perspective is rooted as I say below in the history of the early church before it became a part of the Empire; as McNeal says it is good to remember actualy that the early church was far from ideal and perfect; if it were then the New Testament,, as he says, would have been a lot briefer...but it is precisely because of the imperfections, the marginalization, the pluralism, the hunger for spirituality, that we need to feel pre 70 ce in our bones.

Back then in the early followers of Jesus time, there were no "church jobs". The job of all the followers were to build relationships, to live lives that others would want to imitate. See Jesus see God; see me see Jesus (bearing in mind of course that we don't think we are either fully human or fully divine lol; but that we carry the likeness and imprint with us, in all our frailties and failings too). But this changes the focus of leadership.

How can we as leaders move from being representatives of institutions to become viral agents for God? New leaders will "talk about God, not just about church." [side note to UUs: maybe we have taken God talk over the years away for so long that this shifts us inherently into talking about church, church, church, treating it as idolatry, as be all end all, as the carriers of all meaning, especially given our congregational polity no church higher than the local church; maybe if we talked God more, we would find a mission and conversation and angst and conflict about church less? Just a thought, but funny how you repress in one area and it will surface in another? We do fixate on church health so much it seems in many churches; fixating on what God is doing that we can as a group join in on might take some of that pressure away. Just a thought].

As leaders ministers particularly, McNeal says, should see themselves as movie producers not movie directors, that they should quit trying to relive the past as historians and see themselves as storytellers of the present, as journalists, in order to affect the future. That instead of being trainers of others to do mission; they should learn how and where to deploy people into mission adn how to mostly help them debrief their lives and service. (I will follow this post soon sometime with a special one about how seminaries are changing, need to change to help this).

Finally, as mentioned elsewhere, leadership needs to move from being about programs to beingabout people, to being personal; are we living what we are talking about? is there, he asks, a spiritual attractiveness about us? "Do we have the stink of Jesus on us?" Can we die to church ambitions and celebrity status?

Type rest of the post here