Sunday, September 28, 2008

Missional Communities 3

Henri Nouwen says this of christian leadership.

"We looked in to the eyes of the young fugitive and found him inward, fatherless and convulsive. We wanted to prevent ourselves from handing him over to the enemy to be killed; we wanted instead to lead him to the centre of our village and to recognize in this coming man the redeemer of a fearful world. To do this we are challenged to be articulate, compassionate and contemplative.
Is this to much of a task? Only if we feel we have to accomplish this individually and separately. But if anything has become clear in our day, it is that leadership is a shared vocation which develops by working closely together in a community......"

I think that this is great, leadership is a shared vocation which develops by working closely together in community.

How would I see leadership in missional communities? in reality not a lot different to how I see leadership properly excercised in larger communities. It would be articulate, compassionate and contemplative and it would be relational. Leadership still has specific roles to fulfill within the guidelines of new testament teaching, leadership within small communities is entirely necessary. However we would be kidding ourselves if we don't end up seeing little kings building little kingdoms in missional communities.

Damaged leaders will bring their baggage from other churches they have been part of and try to mould new communities that reflect the opposite of their previous negative experience. Communities formed in contrast and negativity towards other communities will always be slightly warped. Leadership born out of contrast, negativity and pain can be disastrous.

I do think their is a role for apostles in the birth and formation of new communities, we need servants who bring wisdom, guidance and help to ensure that the foundations upon which we are building our communities are healthy. I am increasingly seeing a need for apostolic wisdom and servanthood in new communites because some have started building on weak and damaged foundations. Humility will be needed to admit we need apostolic help and the shape of that apostolic help will need remodeling.

An apostle would help deal with the foundational and embryonic issues I have been talking about over the last few days.

Who are the new apostles? What do they look like?


Anonymous said...

Brian, Have been following your blog for a month or so and just wanted to drop by and say a few things .....

Im teaching on community tonight (first in a 4 week series) to a group of young people .... Im a youth pastor in Bangor, northern ireland. This post is so good and Il show it to my leaders tonight as it hits home to where we have to be at as people who are in positions where God has put us ....... Read a blog last week by a guy who was slating Christians for using the 'buzz word of community' Totally mirrors what you are saying here about people having bad experiences and shaping their next out of their previous!

Was also going to email you about trying to get flights out to Ibiza and see what you guys are a part of and encourage you visiting angel style ..... Gillian Young was filling me in on what she did when she was with you guys in the summer .... sounds awesome ......... But then alas ....... your coming over to Lisburn I see at the end of October ..... I might be away on a youth weekend that weekend but if not il try and make it .... if not im sure our paths will cross again

God Bless


Tanya Heasley said...

A group of people with the same common interests forms a community, does that mean there's no hierarchy? does the group pick a leader from the community or would it grow with the support of a parental figure from outside?

'An apostle would help deal with the foundational and embryonic issues', do you see that as parental?

'True apostolic oversight has to do with being a "father" to the church. Seeing the church as a father sees his children, intent on training his children according to their individual needs. Caring for children is tiring work. Paul said; You remember brethren, our labour and toil, labouring day and night (1 Thess. 2:9).'

Do parental figures have more stamina and seen as less threatening to a community than a leader borne out of the community?

Rupert said...

Good stuff Brian - i would be interested to hear your thoughts on the apostolic. Relevant for us at the moment. For many years, we have moved away from talking about apostles, prophets etc, but have began talking about it again in the last few days.

Much could be said on the subject. One thought for a Monday morning. I think we need to move away from a hierarchical view of the apostolic. It is not so much about authority, but about what an apostolic person brings, his (or her!) contribution. I suspect that is where much has gone wrong in the past.

On leadership, i think you (and Nouwen) is right, in smaller or larger communities. leadership has to be shared and collaborative. One thing i have been thinking about is leadership is changing from being primarily prescriptive to descriptive. We need to move from telling people what to do, to describing what is happening, what God is doing, and allowing people to make their contribution within that framework.