I haven’t posted much on leadership lately. That’s because I seem to have got sidetracked by joy! Or, wry smile, its other extreme…
But though joy is a good direction for a sidetrack, I do want to come back to leadership. Leadership is a major theme of this blog and also a significant part of my personal journey with God at the moment. Wherever I turn, God seems to be speaking to me about leadership.
A friend suggested to me the other day that the big question for me is what kind of leader I want to be. That was hugely insightful – even if he may not have realised just how much! And then there was another great conversation this week with a different friend, one who keeps calling out this leader thing in my life, who sees me trying to hide behind the baggage like Saul and challenges it.
So being a leader is on my mind again, not least because it is also forming part of my research reading. I sometimes wonder if God is having a good laugh at me! Studies, church practice, conversations with those around me – the theme is my identity as a leader, despite my complete reluctance to see myself that way. The way everything is coming together makes me suspect that God is up to more than I can see with this and that my reluctance is not going to stop him!
Anyway, one of the many books which I’ve been reading lately is Leighton Ford’s Transforming Leadership. He says something which I think is worth a little reflection:
we cannot simply baptize secular leadership models and import them into our work for Christ without subjecting them to critical examination.
Of course, we can probably all affirm that. But I wonder whether, on closer inspection, we actually practise that principle?
You see, I’m not sure that I am always as rigorous as I should be. Quite often I’m under time pressure so I tend to be interested in what works in practice. And I tend to think that Scripture often doesn’t speak directly on the rightness or otherwise of this or that leadership model.
To an extent, that’s true. Yet I think that there is work to be done in this area because if we really understand what we are doing in leading God’s people then that ought to have implications for the leadership models which we employ. In a sense, that’s something I’ll be thinking about over the next few years of research. What is it about the nature of church leadership which determines how we should lead?
And as I reflect on it, I suspect that my friend’s question the other week is in a sense a rephrasing of Ford’s idea from a different and more personal perspective. Because of that, I’m going to ask it again of each of us who has any leadership call or responsibility, whether in a church, a business, the public sector or your family.
What kind of leader do you want to be?