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A dirty obsession – with the notion of leadership

One of my facebook friends just posted this question: ” Dan wonders why Christians are so obsessed with ‘leadership’?

Craig Davidson posted:
because of the weak social construct of the church. What we have created doesn’t naturally default to or promote true unity nor community – hence the one-up-manship.

Also, leadership and influence sounds very kitch. ‘I’m a leader…’ it kinda sounds sexy to the masses.

Studying this very topic at the moment Dan – you’re an insightful little happysnapper.

Jade posted:
I wonder if part of it comes from a narrow view of being a “shepherd” – ie. that he’s the cool dude that leads his posse of sheep around everywhere rather than the dude who goes and lives outside in the cold and rain with the sheep, makes sure they all get fed, are safe from wolves and are always accounted for.

Jack posted:
I don’t think christian leaders are obsessed with leadership because it’s sexy or one-upmanship Craig, although I do agree about the weak social construct and what we’ve built does tend to revolve around the leader in a fairly sick way.

And in saying the obsession is because leadership is sexy, or glorious, or cool, probably takes away a bit from the genuine heartfelt sense of call and responsibility and sacrifice christian leaders make.

I think it comes from more like what Jade is saying… a narrow view of leadership from many sources. The corporate world, a steady fiber-free diet of John Maxwell, contemporary leadership theory and our hugely charismatic “heroes” of the faith that we compare ourselves to….

There’s nothing wrong with developing a gift, it’s when we become obsessed with techniques, skill sets, knowledge, methodology etc. that it becomes an issue. Then it’s no longer about “being” but “doing” and the best advice that Paul said to Timothy was “let your growth be evident to all” – in other words, “let people watch how you grow through difficulties, pain, hardship, good times and bad. Follow Christ and that will be the most powerful leadership you can give.”

Dan, contemporary Christianity is obsessed with leadership because that’s what you get pounded into you, and it’s pounded in because it’s one of the hallmarks of pentecostal and charismatic Christianity. It’s one of the aspects of church growth we “discovered” and “implemented”. Basically it works – to an extent (but has a massive downside) and I think the bubble is going to burst on this one and the next “reformation” of the church is going to restore leadership to what Jade just said.


2 Responses

  1. I really like this…..I agree a lot with Jade. I also think that Chrsitian leaders have taught the wrong ideas of leadership : that the leader knows it all and the rest just have to follow. This leads to leaders who use their positions to manipulate and control people. It also breeds unrealistic expecttions of leaders.

    Maybe I should send you something I wrote a while back called “I dont want to be a leader”.

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