Friday, October 27, 2006

Missional Leadership III

So far I’ve focused on what missional leadership is not. Let’s consider what it does look like.

Missional leaders lead from earned authority. The words “because I’m a pastor” should never be used to solicit compliance from church people. True authority is always earned.

If the words that come from one’s mouth are full of God’s wisdom and insight, people notice and follow, regardless of the speaker’s position, title or diploma.
Neil Cole, Organic Church
Missional leaders lead by serving. The primary way we earn authority is by serving. Jesus called us to serve one another. He said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all (Mark 10:42–44).

Our theology says that we should lead from below, but all our models say we should look and act successful.
Alan Roxburgh & Fred Romanuk, The Missional Leader
Missional leaders are more like shepherds than CEOs. Missional leaders are true leaders, but they lead a community. And this community must be engaged in the work of the Kingdom as it senses God’s calling and identifies the ways in which God is already working.
An important role of a missional leader is cultivating an environment within which God’s people discern God’s directions and activities in them and for the communities in which they find themselves.
Alan Roxburgh & Fred Romanuk, The Missional Leader

Rather than the leader having plans and strategies
that the congregation will affirm and follow, cultivation describes the leader as the one who works the soil of the congregation so as to invite and constitute the environment for the people of God to discern what the Spirit is doing in, with, and among them as a community.
Alan Roxburgh & Fred Romanuk, The Missional Leader
Missional leaders are driven by theology rather than pragmatism. There is an idea that pastors don’t have the luxury of doing serious study. That is to be left for those living in ivory towers. In the real world we just need to get busy and find out what works. But pragmatism leads to theological error. Pragmatism leads to moral failure. Pragmatism leads to a human agenda.

More than ever, pastors need to be theologians.

Their beginning point is grounded in a theological understanding and conviction of what the church should be and do. It is not simply about building a reputation, a ministry, a following, or a great church, but it is about a deep conviction that is grounded in the Word of God.
Ed Stetzer & David Putman, Breaking the Missional Code

The work of theological reflection in a profoundly changing culture must be reintroduced into the daily practices of pastoral life.
Alan Roxburgh & Fred Romanuk, The Missional Leader

The Christian leaders of the future have to be theologians, persons who know the heart of God.
Henri J. M. Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership

Missional leaders prepare for the future rather than plan for the future. The future is uncertain. We cannot predict it with any certainty. We need to be prepared for the future. But we cannot force the future to take the shape we think it should take.

The better (and biblical) approach to the future involves prayer and preparation, not prediction and planning.
Reggie McNeal, The Present Future

[A leader must be able to] thrive in the midst of ambiguity and discontinuity.
Alan Roxburgh & Fred Romanuk, The Missional Leader

We are in a period that makes it impossible to have much clarity about the future and how it is going to be shaped. Therefore those leaders who believe they can address the kind of change we are facing by simply defining a future that people want, and then setting plans to achieve it, are not innovating a missional congregation. They are only finding new ways of preventing a congregation from facing the discontinuous change it confronts.

Alan Roxburgh & Fred Romanuk, The Missional Leader

Missional leaders take the long view. One of the problems with American business is that its leaders often live for today. They try to make the quarterly numbers look as good as possible. In doing so, they often sellout the long-term prospects.

This is no different in the church. Pastors are encouraged to find quick answers. They feel pressure to submit good statistics. This year needs to have better numbers than last year.

But missional leaders buck the trend. They make their decisions with a view to the long-term impact on the Kingdom.

Missional change is not a short-term problem solved by pragmatic programs. Instead, it entails forming an alternative imagination over time.
Alan Roxburgh & Fred Romanuk, The Missional Leader

Missional leaders focus on people. Most leaders focus on programs. But missional leaders focus on people. They focus on the people already in the congregation. They focus on the people in the community. Jesus never let his plans prevent him from addressing the needs of people.

The key to innovating new life and mission in a congregation is not so much a strategy for growth as it is cultivation of people themselves.
Alan Roxburgh & Fred Romanuk, The Missional Leader

Again, I’ve only had time to give a brief sketch of these ideas. Let me know what you think. What would you add to the list? Do you disagree with anything that I’ve included?

Pastor Rod

“Helping you become the person God created you to be”

Part One, Part Two


Anonymous said...

There are some really great thoughts here and some of them really struck me in a rather strong way. Thankyou for these thoughts and insights.

Blessings in Christ Jesus!

Pastor Rod said...


Thanks for the kind words.