At the congregation down the street, they’re doing things the way they’ve done them for the last few hundred years. Every week, people come, attracted by familiarity, by the family and friends around them, part of a tribe.
And just past that building is another one, a different tribe, where the tradition is more than a thousand years old.
This is not so different from that big company that used to be an internet startup, but all the original team members have long left the building. Work tomorrow has a lot in common with work yesterday, and the safety of it all is comforting.
Che, Jefferson, Edison, Ford… most of these radicals would not recognize the institutions that have been built over time.
The question each of us has to answer about the institution we care about is: Does this place exist to maintain and perpetuate the status quo, or am I here to do the work that the radical founder had in mind when we started?
via Seth Godin’s post “(re)Radical“
Humility is a virtue all preach, none practice, and yet everybody is content to hear. The master thinks it good doctrine for his servant, the laity for the clergy, and the clergy for the laity.
—JOHN SELDEN, Table Talk
From The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Quotations. (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1992). 207.
I came to see that interweaving the threads of a rope came much closer to meeting my goal of a cohesive, interactive team. That way, I eliminate the inevitable spaces between chain links, replacing them with a ‘rope’ team, where every thread is bound together.
Does economic success happen despite business failure? I’d go further than that. Economic success happens because of business failure. It’s the failure of once-dominant companies that makes space for new business ideas.
Why are so many of us drawn towards the image of the humble &reluctant leader, and not drawn to the image of the inspired, impassioned leader with a dream? I’m aware that my own vocational story can be told from either perspective, and I most often choose to relay it through the lens of humble reluctance. Does this say something about me as an individual, about our culture, or about the times that we find ourselves in?
Here’s the bottom line. If I am a humble, reluctant leader then the primary means by which people will measure my ministry is through my faithfulness. They will admire the fact that I gave up an easier path in my determination to be faithful to God’s call on my life. They won’t really expect much from me, other than my faithfulness. On the other hand, if I tell my story through the lens of the gifted and called, passionate leader with a vision for something more for the Church and the determination to pursue that call, then I had better be prepared to deliver something substantive. It’s a lot safer to be reluctant and humble in our leadership narratives, than it is to be bold, passionate and persistent.
Would it make a difference, in this chapter of church life, if we reexamined our vocational stories and more carefully told the part of the story that focused on our pursuit and passion for ministry? Might we energize our congregations in some different ways? I wonder.