Friday, 24 November 2006

Some thoughts on Leadership: with reference to Dallas Willard and the Acts 29 guys.

Dallas Willard, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God (InterVarsity, 1984):
To manipulate, drive or manage people is not he same thing as to lead them. The sheepdog forcibly manoeuvres the sheep, whereas the biblical shepherd simply calls as he calmly walks ahead of the sheep. 81
That resonates with some Acts 29 stuff on leadership which I reproduce here:\
- Leader’s define and defend the mission
- If my mission is fuzzy, I can’t fail.
- Leaders umpire—they decide what’s on mission
- Unless we have leaders over the mission there’s no way to stay on mission
- Leaders lead the mission (knowing that bad experiences will be all my fault)

Leader’s are called to:
- Teach people how to participate in the mission in a meaningful way.
- Connect every task to Jesus and the mission
- Say to the people: “I don’t have a job for you, I’m on a mission and I need you to join me. We’re going to kick butt and take names.”
- Call people rather than trying to "sell" them on the mission (but we don’t want to call because we don't want to depend on people—to need them—to feel like we’ll owe them)
- Say to the people, "I want you to follow me on this mission," because that’s what Jesus did. 
Leaders, they say, must have written philosophy of ministry arising from such questions as, "Who am I? What bothers me?"

Here's a stab at, a-first-draft-of-a-work-in-progress-of-a, philosophy of ministry for me:

Life is like a journey down a highway. We’re born and we set out for our final destination—the home God intends for us (heaven). The trouble is, sin has destroyed the bridge (for now) which was to deliver us there safe and sound. Where the bridge was, there is now a great yawning chasm at the bottom of which is destruction (hell). People come upon the chasm, expecting the bridge to be there, but find that it’s too late to stop, so they plunge off the highway of life into the chasm and they die.

I know the bridge is out. It’s just around the bend. People can’t see it from where I meet them. They have to take my word for it.

I don’t want them to drive into the chasm and die. I want to warn them about the bridge being out and to tell them about the way (Jesus) which will lead them to safety. This is what God has put me here for.

Everything else pales beside that fact. If I feed people, baptize their children, marry them, visit them in hospital and deliver pastoral care but neglect to warn them about the bridge being out, I’m failing them. Well fed, happily married people with baptized children can still plunge into the chasm where they expect the bridge to be. My job is warn them and help them to the way of safety.

We can have the best music ministry in the world, the best ACW, the best Altar Guild, the best Bible studies and Small Groups there ever were, but unless they’re all connected to Jesus and helping people to find the way to safety and home that He represents, we’re missing the point.

I know I am not responsible for the decisions people make...they may choose to ignore my warning. I am, however, responsible for finding ways to get their attention and telling them the bridge is out as convincingly and clearly as possible, using language they can understand. In order to do that I must live my life and present myself in a way that makes me credible—to maximize the possibility that they will stop, or at least slow down, so they can hear what I have to say.


...so, I ask myself, to where am I being called to calmly walk, and what should my simple call be?