still need the leader

a lot of me loves the conversations about the emerging church and how it’s asking great questions + rethinking + exploring ideas + reconfiguring + having an edgy attitude + prying out raw honesty + deconstructing + admitting brokenness.. and looking at the leading conversationalists, while the dialogue is open to all b/c of freely available technology, it still takes an articulate person to join and to parlay with the meandering mix of feelings and thoughts..

and it still takes the leader to form the community, to guide the conversations, to manage the people that want to gather for exploring and/or sharing their spiritual journey.. I’ve yet to see a more corporate model of leadership where a plurality of leaders, much less the whole (or majority) of a community group (aka “church”) gives the direction or vision or cohesion to making that journey meaningful and going somewhere; conversations can easily become like wandering in the desert, raising lots of questions, not willing to risk putting lives and resources and energy into an answer for fear of failure or unexpected outcome, or worse, wind up in crisis management, putting out one fire for the next – no fun for anyone who’s been around the block.. so, (one of) the big empty void is still -> the leader.. if my experience as a dialoguer and listener gives me a valid (large enough of a) sampling, then there are lots of voices who have desire for a safe place to experience AND to explore their spirituality, but very little significant happens because there’s not the leader to spearhead that movement, that community formation.. and the leader has to be resourced in the reality of this real world (aka “money”) and the leader has to be able to do the public speaking bit (do you know of any community group where the leader doesn’t bear the voice on a regular basis?!)

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  1. jen lemen says:

    hey dj,
    i think you’re right. we need leaders, but i don’t think that emerging church will welcome them until we can be sure that the point of that leadership is not to control or orchestrate our growth in any kind of overhanded way. we have become too aware of the conflict for leaders who need to feel validated professionally (of course) and the fact that those personal needs don’t always intersect or gel with people moving away from old structures and less organic models of growth. does that make any sense?
    just my .02,

  2. scott says:

    i agree. in the midst of all of the new ideas/thoughts/trends/etc… there is still a few constants – “leaders” being one of them.

    it almost seems that there is sort of a rebellion against “organized” leadership right now (and understandably so in many regards). But I think in an effort to be “new” and “emerging” we will really shoot ourselves in the foot if we try to play down or minimize the role of the leader.

    perhaps what is needed is a new kind of leader – one with pure motives, passion for people and one who is not afraid to look silly at times. I guess we could create a whole list – but i’m sure you get where I’m going.

    now i’m wondering if i’m totally off the subject…

    but in sticking with your question. No, I’m not aware of any community group where the role of the leader is non-existant.

  3. James says:

    What a great post on a great question. I think that these questions that revolve around how Christ followers are to lead are so good. It will take a much more gifted person than me to answer the question you pose but I tend to think that if we redefine leadership we may discover their are groups in which the “leader” doesn’t bear the voice on a regular basis. One example I keep coming back to in my thinking is the description of the “scientific community” that is in the 6th chapter of Druscilla Scott’s book on Polanyi’s thought titled, Everyman Revived. I am attracted to this description and want to believe that there is something valuable in it for the church that I am simply not recognizing yet.

    Keep up the great work.

  4. Some Really Good Observations
    I wish I had been the one to make them, but such is life.DJ Chuang points out that the need for leadership still remains, regardless of the structure or lack thereof in a fellowship:a lot of me loves the conversations…