Monday, August 19, 2013

Spawning Grounds - Leadership Journal

I recently wrote an article for Leadership Journal on the transition from elder to emerging church leaders as a form of discipleship. I talked about salmon, psychosocial life stages, pizza, and King David, as well as a few stories--some positive, some negative--about leadership cultures in the church:
In my first year of full-time ministry, I sat down for lunch with the leader of my past church's men's ministry. The church had been struggling for a while. Much of the trouble stemmed from a stagnant church leadership culture—it didn't seem like the people in leadership were listening to opinions other than their own. I felt hurt and frustrated, and like we were headed in the wrong direction. 
My friend was just as tired and drained as I had been. Since he had been in his role longer than I had been in mine, I asked him how he continued to lead in this environment. "I'm still here because I think God can still change things," he said. "But when you've been beating your head against a brick wall, eventually it's going to knock you out." 
Years later, over another pizza in a different restaurant, I sat across from the lead pastor of the church. Past experience said that a lunch conversation initiated by your lead pastor or an elder meant there was some "issue" that needed to be "discussed." I was wary. Before, these conversations had became monologues as an older leader spent much time correcting my mistakes, and little time listening or letting me ask for wisdom. 
So I was caught off guard when this pastor listened, asking in-depth questions, and seeking my own authentic answers before offering his own wisdom. It was a dialogue, not a monologue. He was humble and gracious about it. I hadn't experienced anything like it before—an elder church leader initiating genuine relationship, dialogue, and mutual growth with an emerging leader.

Read the rest of the article here.

What do you think? How can elder church leaders pass the baton of ministry responsibility to younger leadership in healthy and sustainable ways?

1 comment:

  1. Nice article. I've been around our culture's version of church a long time and seen a lot if its inner workings, and I've never seen a transition from a senior to a youth pastor, and never never anything like it from a flagship denominational church. I'm not sure the people in our congregation have any clue of the significance of that transition, especially with how smooth it was done and how well it was accepted. It's very significant. And that the former senior, with that level of wisdom and humility has taken a significant role with the denomination bodes well for the denomination.

    A long time ago my dad gave me a book called "Gleanings From Elisha". It has a significant portion devoted to the very long transition from Elijah to Elisha with some very good insight about spiritual transition.