Emerging/Emergent Trait 8: Leading as a Body - Sept 21

Darrell L. Bock's picture

Description: Here it is a list of things that are highlighted. The goal is to facilitate creative freedom, not stifling control. The view is that one should not reduce leadership to power or do the same with the role of God. There is a good, beautiful and relational God, not just one who wants obedience. This means building networks versus focusing on hierarchies. To foster the vision of all, not that of a leader is another value. To point to relationships not manage a mission statement is another priority, although working through a mission statement is something many in the movement espouse. There is a hesitation to exercise power, so that there is a turn from powerful group leaders to leaderless groups. There is a wariness about a powerful charismatic leader. Some keep this ideal. Others see it as idealistic, so that a leaderless model is not possible. Leadership should be based on gifting, not simply if someone is willing to fill a need. Leadership is also to be based on passion and commitment, not position. Authority emerges from a track record, not merely possessing a position. Open leadership means that any may attend and be a part of a leadership structure. The goal is to have the congregation set the agenda, so consensus building is important. Needless to say this means that leadership is not concentrated in one person but to a community of leaders or to a form of representational leadership. Leaders facilitate ministry versus mediating God. The structures are relational and decentralized in contrast to the centralized control of a mega-church. The goal is to create space for people to do the work of ministry. The attempt is to get people to think of themselves not as members of a church, but as missionaries. The leaders in the community are not more like CEOs, but spiritual directors. Participation (not staffing) means volunteer ministry is emphasized. The goal here si to minimize any clergy/lay distinctions. Evaluation: I do sense some idealism in some of this discussion. I also sense a lack of engagement with portions of the NT, in terms of the way the church was led by those gifted and equipped to develop maturity and who also possessed authority (and yes, even power) to lead. In fact, the movement as I am familiar with it does have key leaders who are gifted and charismatic in the sociological sense and who exercise terrific power over the conceptualization and development of the movement. Why have elders, deacons, teachers and pastors as gifts? If such lead with a model that serves and gives rather than gaining power (earning it versus exploiting it), then the church is operating in a manner that the NT seems to promote. On the other hand, the relational value and the desire to have all engage in the church and have a stake in its development and growth to maturity is a value that also finds important support in texts like 1 Cor 12 or Eph 4:11-16. As to forms, again with E/E we are dealing with a form that highlights intimacy and small size in engagement, What big churches do as small groups (and often as a side program), E/E sees as church core. The danger is the big church is that intimacy can be hard to find and one can get lost in church. The value of the smaller emphasis is that everyone is known and accountable. The danger is that the small church can almost become a kind of clique with less appreciation for the larger body or other parts of it outside the group, if it is not careful in how it teaches its distinctives.

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