Wednesday, 1 February 2012


I've been thinking a lot about leadership lately.  I'm writing an essay on church discipline and its relevance in the 21st century church, and of course the leader of a church has a role in that.  There have been some interesting online debates recently about church discipline - if you're interested take a look at Matthew Paul Turner's blog.

But my thoughts on leadership have been much wider than just church discipline, and it seems I'm not the only one who is thinking a lot about 21st century church leadership lately (see Mike Friesen's blog here, here and here, for instance).

In my research for this essay I've found some great books, which I highly recommend: 

The Fourfold Leadership of Jesus, by Andrew Watson, an Anglican vicar;

7 Deadly Sins of Women in Leadership by Kate Coleman, a Baptist minister;

Post-Christendom:  Church and Mission in a Strange New World by Stuart Murray, an Anabaptist and overseer of Urban Expression, a pioneering urban church planting agency;

and Leadership:  a Critical Text by Simon Western, a Quaker, and the Director of Coaching at the Management School, Lancaster University.

At this point in my curacy (in my final year) I'm reflecting a lot on what kind of leader I want to be and what kind of leader God wants me to be.  I'm thinking about what kind of leadership style I'm inclined towards, and how I might need to push beyond my natural comfort zones to really go where God wants to take me in terms of leading a church as an incumbent.  It's quite exciting, really.  This is such an interesting time in Christianity in the west.  Interesting and very challenging. 

I quite like it that the books listed above, the ones I really got a lot out of, are written by people from four different traditions.  One thing I warmed to about all four books is their common emphasis on the need for collaboration and community.  The 21st century does not take well to domineering, heirarchical leadership, but a multi-voiced, sensitive, listening, serving and enabling kind of leadership is what many are calling for, with vision, attentive to the Spirit. Bring it on!

1 comment:

  1. wow, read the first link about the "contract" for church discipline; seems incredibly harsh and even prurient to me; makes the roman catholic confessions and penance seem so loving in contrast and so much more like what Jesus would have given a nod to, imho.


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