Welcome to part 4 of 8 in “Confessions of An Anxious Leader or Chasing the Leadership Dragon.” In each of these posts I’m listing how systems thinking affects how I think about leadership. I now think about leadership as a matter of maturity.
What systems theory has taught me is that we grow and mature as we shift focus or emphasis in several categories of life. Some of these categories apply to individuals, some apply to congregations, some apply to both. I list these shifts or directions in no particular order. Today we look at item number three.
3) Maturity operates out of principle rather than the feeling of the moment. This statement seems obvious and perhaps the least challenging of any of these items. Nonetheless, most of the congregations with which I’m familiar operate by what feels right and eschew the hard decisions that might cause anyone anywhere any indigestion. Sure, we’ve got mission statements and slogans, but how often are they used to redesign staff structure, to reallocate budgets, or to cancel an otherwise successful program? This kind of focus is where laity have the most potential to lead. After taking the time to get sufficiently clear about the congregation’s self-definition, laity can make decisions in favor of that self-definition in the church council and in the committees. When a congregation (and a pastor) can do this as clear-headed as possible, being as faithful to God’s leading on articulated thoughtful principle, rather than trying to make the most people inside the walls happy, the congregation will move toward maturity. In the short term, leaders of a congregation will have to deal with the anxiety of people walking out when they aren’t happy. In the face of such sabotage, maturity will stick with principle.
See Related Earlier Posts