Saturday, 29 April 2017

Taking on the mantle

John 7:2-5
Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. So Jesus' brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” (For not even his brothers believed in him.)

"Leadership is disappointing people at a rate they can absorb" Ed Friedman
Tod Bolsinger, working with leaders in the Church of Scotland, shared this wisdom from Ed Friedman that he also quotes in his book: Canoeing the Mountains. 
I find this quote more comforting than I probably should - mainly because I have often disappointed people and continue to do so!
Think of how often Moses disappointed the Israelites in the wilderness - so much so that people wanted to return to the slavery they knew in Egypt.
Or of how Jesus didn't conform to expectations but, all the way to the cross, continued to disappoint those who wanted something different from a Messiah.
In the church, so many of us who are called or appointed to be leaders end up being servants to the  expectations of others. And, even when we don't disappoint others, we probably disappoint ourselves.
A bit later on in the book, Tod has this to say about the kind of leadership that is required in the church today:
Transformational leadership is a skill set that can be learned but not easily mastered. It is not a role or position, but a way of being, a way of leading that is far different than most of us have learned before.
That, too, is a comfort of sorts. For one thing is clear- Ministry formation programmes have not prepared us for the necessary leadership roles that will help us and those whom we lead to engage in the mission of God today.
We can spend time bemoaning that fact, or we can step up and offer ourselves for the kind of transformation that will enable us to step out and encourage others to join us on an adventure that is characterised more by what we do not know, but are willing to learn and by the courage and willingness to acknowledge and embrace the loss that is a close companion of change.
The transformation required begins in us who seek to model a way of being that is faithful to the call of God today in a post Christendom world whose terrain we may not have imagined. Incorporating our sense of loss and finding healing in the lure of adventure into which God leads, allows us to embody a model of leadership that is at once patient and demanding, comforting and challenging. A model of leadership that requires trust and that inspires risk and vulnerability - for the sake of God's kingdom.
Thy kingdom come, O Lord, thy will be done on earth....