I've been reading a book called "Transforming Congregational Culture", by Anthony Robinson. Here a a few quotations I found provocative:
"The church, once founded and established to make a difference in the lives of others and in society, has in a time of change and confusion tended to adopt a diminished purpose and vision. Seeing or sensing that earlier roles and purposes -- conscience of the community, instrument of aid, and center of the community -- no longer quite worked, and yet unsure of other directions, too many churches have adopted as their implicit purpose the maintenance of a congenial community for their members. And the measure of a minister and church has become how well they keep the membership satisfied." (p. 31)
The purpose of the church is a better word than its vision because: "this (vision) tends to distort the role of leader, or leadership, turning it once again into an answer-provoding agency and relieving the followers of responsibility...vision has aplace, but purpose is the more important question."
"Too often worship in the mainline churches is an informational event rather than a formational and transformational event. But if information were all that was needed to save us, we would have been redeemed long ago....worship is the encounter with God -- it is meeting -- and being met by -- the holy one...in the Christendom era, and in many mainline churches today, worship is nice but is not absolutely necessary, not critical... in our new time, worship will be experience as essential, not something you can miss."
I keep thinking about the fact that as a leader one of the few things I know is that I don't know all the answers. I know just a few answers. I'm pretty sure, though, that learning to ask the right questions is one of the most important tasks for leaders these days.
I have quit asking "am I a leader?" because I am a leader, sometimes even whether I want to be or not. But the right question for me is not "Am I a leader?" or "Am I willing to lead?" but, "What kind of leader am I becoming?" and "Where am I willing to lead?" Where do I need courage, and who can help me find it?