|Photo: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0|
a stranger, and not your own lips.
I am an introvert. We love people too, but get drained by interpersonal interaction and need to recharge. Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz), wrote an article called, How To Avoid a People Hangover, that was good.
In the church today, we have people in all sorts of places on the spiritual growth continuum. We have pre-Christians, or people who belong, but don't yet believe; and we have believers, who don't belong. There are also converts who are not disciples. M. Guy Muse, wrote on The Difference Between Converts and Disciples.
If you are searching for a church, you might ask the question, "what kind of ministries do you offer?" Sounds like a fair question. But, we do have a consumerist culture that we are a part of and we can also approach life that way, which is really not the Biblical way of life. The Bible tells us how to relate to God and how to serve our neighbor. J.R. Miller answers the question with, "we don't offer any ministries". What? Then he says something like, "but we have many opportunities for you to serve with us". Even if you are in need of healing, lots of healing; we really are not called to just be consumers of others ministry to us, but to serve others in our brokenness and weakness, while getting ministry for ourselves along the way. It is both/and. You might be "the walking wounded", but the key word is "walking".
A saying or quote, that I both love and hate, that is attributed to Robert Schuller, goes something like this: "If you could do something and you knew you would not fail, what would that be?" I've heard another quote that is the title of a book, "do what you love, the money will follow". How many people do we know that have their dream job or have followed their dreams, in their life's work? And this is not about getting rich. Read Allison Vesterfelt, on this inspiring topic: The Question That Changed Everything For Me.
I believe that the church has a leadership problem. This was probably my favorite read in the past month, Leadership in the Chaordic Age by Leonard Hjalmarson. We need leaders who are learners, people reflect and act, rather than react.
As leaders, we have imposed solutions on people that have made them dependent on us and our knowledge, in the "knowledge is power" paradigm. The better way is to empower people to be self-governing, self-organizing, and adaptive. What if we move from command and control to being "meaning seekers". Meaning seekers are uncertain about us, but certain about God; God's goodness, faithfulness, and love. Meaning seeker leaders respect you and your life-story and your unique relationships in which God has placed you and do not give you canned orders but come a long side of you, seeking to understand your journey towards God.
Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power, but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those who are led. -Gary HamelAre you comfortable with chaos? If you are, then you might be a leader. Managers love structure and order. Did Jesus call us to manage other people or lead them? Football quarterbacks, chefs, group therapists, midwives and battlefield leaders have in common that they lead in chaos, if they have any success.
People are poems understand, not equations to be solved or fixed. The poet leader brings interpretation and meaning a person's life and cultivates an environment where people can grow in Christ.
One problem today might be a power vacuum that we have in the church, because we don't have the experience of the power of God, The Holy Spirit in our midst. What happens to our leadership when God is powerfully present in our midst (like in the book of Acts) and the priestly ministry has to get out of God's way and each person has a one-on-one with God? The priest or leader (minister, preacher, pastor, apostle, prophet, evangelist) will be forced in the chaos to come along side, rather than be the head. But God does have his chosen, sovereign vessel, leaders like Evan Roberts and William Seymour; that God wants in front.