Archive for August, 2011

Missional Leadership

August 17, 2011

In the book “Churches, Cultures, and Leadership” by Mark Lau Branson and Juan Martinez, they discuss what leadership in the missional church is about. They reference “The Missional Leader” book by Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk which states:

“At its core, missoinal church is how we cultivate a congregational environment where God is the center of conversation and God shapes the focus and work of the people. We believe this is a shift in imagination for most congregations; it is a change in the culture of congregational life. Missional leadership is about shaping cultural imagination within a congregation wherein people discern what God might be about among them and in their community.”

Branson goes on to say that “the missional church needs a different vision of leadership…The work of church leaders is to shape an envrionment in which God’s missional imagination, which is available to the members, can be discerned and entered into.”

So, leadership is about creating an environment. Leadership is about asking questions, not giving answers. Leadership is about character and authenticity. Leaders must build relationships and trust. Leadership is more about framing than vision. Leaders create meaning in the midst of the chaos.

Ron Heifetz has said that “the prevailing notion that leadership consists of having a vision and aligning people with that vision is bankrupt because it continues to treat adaptive situations as if they were technical: The authority figure is supposed to divine where the group is going, and people are supposed to follow. Leadership is reduced to a combination of grand knowing and salesmanship. Such a perspective reveals a basic misconception about the way systems succeed in addressing adaptive challenges. Adaptive solutions require members of the system to take responsibility for the problematic situations that face them.”

If this is true, then one of the skills that missional leaders need is learning how to cultivate an environment, how to stimulate imagination, and how to help people discover what God is up to in their neighborhoods. It is not an “expert” model of leadership, but an “explorer” and a “trail guide” model of leadership, that realizes God is already at work among the community of believers and the communities where we live. We have to work with our people to discover where the Trinity is already at work and join in the reconciling and redeeming work that is already taking place around us.

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