Seems like I have not been blogging of late. I guess I either blog lots or read lots. I just read two books. I have finished a brilliant book about a guy called David Bausso (Don’t Look Back). He started Opportunity International. Well he pretty much started the revolution of mirco-finance and trust banks into the third world.
He has a leadership style most akin to what I imagine Jesus being like as a leader in some senses. Not all but some. He just never really wanted to “lead” people in the way we understand it, just have relationship with them, build them. I think what we see as leadership so often is…oh, forget it, I really don’t know what I see as leadership. My boss, Neale…a well known public servant in WA, well, many would say this man is the ultimate ‘leader’. He is amzing in what he is able to achieve and the balance he has in his life. But then I would say Keith Farmer my former boss and x-principal of .acom is another great and inspirational leader I know, but totally different to Neale. David Bassau was maybe a blending of both of these guys. Not sure how to put it, but the model of leadership I see in Christ is rare. I struggle to lead in any way, but leadership from behind, this is a challenge. It’s easier to just say this is where we are going. For many who follow this way of being lead is easier too. Passive. I don’t have to think, I just choose if I like it or not and either go there or don’t. But you see it’s in just that where the problem is. If I am committed to relationship above role or even purpose and if I have committed myself firstly to a community of friends and ‘soon to be friends’, then in some senses to just say, “I was praying” or even “I have just decided that we will do this or go there or be this” etc this could be a form of abuse. Yes I think that. It’s a type of relational abuse or passive violence. What right do I have to just say “we will do this“?
Is this the cohesive community I read about in scripture?
Is this the heart of Christ for his “No longer slave nor free, male nor female...” type community?
I think democracy is not God’s heart for the church…but neither is autocracy.
Bonhoeffer said this about community –
Those who love community, destroy community
Those who love people, build community.
If we try to build the perfect community in our church, our small group etc at the expense of the people in it we will destroy the very community we are trying to build.
Imagine this for a second…I make a decision to do ‘x’ in our community/small group/life group etc.
All but 1 person is all for the decision or at least nonchalant about it.
For some reason this decison will adversly effect this person, emotionally, financially or in some way.
What do I do? Go with a majority? Talk him around? Pressure him into it? Ask him to leave? Make him feel silly for his pettiness?
What if we took a vote on a selection of choices? 7 of the group decide on choice ‘x’, the other 4 were split between choice ‘y’ and ‘z’. Of course we go with choice ‘x’…yes? What of the other 3 this time? What if choice ‘x’ really is not suitable for them, what if their participation in choice’x’ actually contradicts a value for them, a core value?
(obviously there will be many decisions that the non agreers would just say, I don’t care, it’s not important to me, I will ‘go with the flow’)
So I make a decision ‘as a group’, this is by far the hardest choice for me as a ‘leader’, (whatever that means) because the easy thing is just to make a call, that’s ‘good leadership’ is it not?
“Oh he is such a strong leader, you always know where you are going!”
Well I have to ask the question, “You might know where you are going but did you participate in the choice of direction or did you just get taught somewhere to blindly go where leadership says to go?”
What part did you play in where you are today? More importantly to me is the question, “What group process were you involved in to get your community to where it is today?”
Maybe ‘leadership’ (including the gift of leadership) in this context is more about wise facilitation, guidance in process and guarding values of group participation, rather than ‘making it happen’.
Someone wiser than me once said that “community is a matter of the extent to which [a society] participate[s] in it’s governance…“
So you say you are in a community, then based on this, the level of which you are ‘in’ community is directly proportional to the the extent to which you participate in it’s decisions and direction…interesting ramifications for many of us only ever connected to big churches and never participating in smaller groups who together set their their own journey and direction. Or sometimes even these smaller groups are ‘lead’ in a manner more a kin to larger groups.
My challenge as I write this is that my wife has looked over my shoulder and read it (in between both of us putting kids to bed, phone calls to my bro, and Christine’s trip to buy her chocolate fix!)
She feels I am off beam…again!
Her challenge is in regards to a new testamant model of leadership. She asks, “Did not Paul act more like what we see in our model ‘Senior Pastor’ style leader? Instruction, direction, vision casting?”
Or did he?