Phil over at Signposts has some good thoughts on leadership.
Leadership structures are important as they define expectations of accountability, responsibility and communication. One of the worrying signs in the emerging church is the fear of leadership and structure. It is likely that this is a reaction to the institutionalised leadership and structures that people have experienced and felt smothered by. Yet, not all structures and leadership are inherently bad.
It remains to be determined exactly where the proper balance lies, but it does seem evident that some form of leadership must be found and practised which is non-authoritarian and non-heirarchical. Servant leadership. Complete lack of leadership isn’t good either, and even consensus forms of governance grow weaker as an organization grows — eventually threatening to paralize the organization. Balance may be hard to strike, but it must exist. As John Mellencamp says in the song Between a Laugh and a Tear, “I know there’s a balance, I see it when I swing past.”
Also from Phil’s post, “Without good communication, accountability and process, a leader may not realise when he or she has lost the understanding or even support of ordinary church members.” Unfortunately, I’ve seen that one happen as well… and it forebodes pain for all concerned. As with so many bad situations, the preventative solution is often so simple… so simple in fact, it isn’t given due consideration as important. After all, how could something so small be so important? Ah, but it is. One small reminder of the necessary things within an effective servant leadership structure… if we can just find that balance.
Lord, may we all stop “swinging past.”