Wednesday, June 01, 2022

The Ledership (not Leadership) Principle

Blue bottle fly, in our front yard

When I was teaching in the doctoral program at Palmer Theological Seminary, we gave incoming students a copy of Henri Nouwen's In the Name of Jesus. In this slim volume Nouwen made the game-changing claim that Christian leaders are led by Christ.

To lead, be led.

Let's call this "ledership."

Last summer I was talking with a pastor at one of my conferences. He was complaining about his church family. "Some of them," he said, " want to lead the church!" Then he added, "As the pastor, I want to lead church!"

This is wrong, on both counts. 

God is not interested in showing up on Sunday mornings and participating in what the pastor is leading. God wants to take over the service. God is the Shepherd, the Guide, the Orchestrator. 

As all-knowing, God knows how and where to lead. As all-powerful, God is capable of leading. As all-loving, God's leading is compassionate. God's ways are not the pastor's ways, nor are God's ways the people's ways. 

Unless God leads, the pastor and the people lead in vain.

Given this, why would the people want to lead church? Why would a pastor want to lead church? Is it an ego-thing? For power and control? Out of fear? Out of ignorance?

(I have written about what ledership means in my book Leading the Presence-Driven Church.)