Leadership is a big buzzword in church circles these days. Seminaries have degree programs in leadership. Annual Conferences sponsor leadership training. Consultant gurus say that leadership is critical to church growth. This is a good discussion. I've received some good leadership training provided for me since graduating seminary. But the increase of the study of leadership has revealed several different camps of what good leadership looks like, and questions of what makes Christian leadership distinct from leading a bank, a public school, or a small business.
I was excited to come across a succinct statement of Christian leadership that resonates with my own views as they have developed over the years. I offer it here to reveal my own thoughts, as a discussion starter, and as a devotional as I came across this passage in the book I'm currently reading devotionally. The book is called The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century. Written by Joan Chittister, the book provides modern reflection on a 1,500 year-old guide to Christian community in monasteries. She writes:
"Benedict's leaders are to birth souls of steel and light; they are to lead the group but not drive it; they are to live the life they lead; they are to love indiscriminately; they are to favor the good, not to favor the favorites; they are to call the community to the height and depth and breadth of the spiritual life; they are to remember and rejoice in their own weaknesses in order to deal tenderly with the weaknesses of others; they are to attend more to the spiritual than to the physical aspects of community life; and, finally, they are to save their own souls in the process, to be human beings themselves, to grow in life themselves." (p. 50-51)
That paragraph sums up much of what I try to do as a pastor. Any thoughts?