I’ve been enjoying the discussion on leadership that has been floating around the past few days (Kinnon, Fitch, Dash, McKnight, Hyatt, and Hiestand…I’m sure there are others). One, because it’s helpful for some things going on in our local community here. Two, because I think what I talked about in Part 3 of my simple church series is instructive to this conversation.
What I hear in the various blog posts is both a strong resistance to corporate (business) models of leadership but a desire to glean whatever we can for the sake of the kingdom and mission. How do we do both? I loved Fitch’s statement that “Christian leadership is defined by the posture of submission – to the world this is not leadership.” I wholeheartedly agree with that assertion and see that modeled time and time again in the Scriptures and throughout church history.
Great leaders in the kingdom are always well acquainted with the Jesus way of sacrifice, service, meekness, and humility. But they also carry an inherent authority that I believe is only possible as given and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This authority does not control or manipulate like most business models of leadership ultimately do. It is just there…and works whether the leader knows all the latest techniques or not.
The context for this kind of leadership is a community of people that are walking in the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit. Outside of that, maybe a different kind of leadership is necessary to get the job done. But I don’t see that as God’s intent for his church.
I see the leadership roles described in the New Testament as primarily equipping, serving, and challenging. They exist to keep the community pointed in the right direction – to the head Dude and his mission. They submit to the Spirit, along with everyone else, and that’s how things stay in order.
I left a question in the comments of Fitch’s post that I think deserves some consideration: “Dare we say that the rise of business models of leadership in the church are a direct result of a lack of understanding and reliance on the Holy Spirit?” I believe there is a better way to lead, a healthier way, and it starts with God’s Spirit.