We Are Spiritual Leaders, Not Managers

Recently, I was contacted by someone asking me to post links to websites for managers here so congregational leaders could use them. I looked at a couple of the links. They appeared helpful for those who were managers. But I decided against placing them here because I believe all leadership in the church should be rooted in prayerful discernment practices, not in managerial practices. While there are those who believe that churches should be run like businesses, I’m not one of them.

I believe that every leader in our congregations is, or should be, a spiritual leader who engages in prayer practices that allow him or her to more closely pay attention to what God is stirring up in their presence.  While personnel and organizational details need to be tended the most critical thing needing attention is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the congregation.  What gifts has God given to the disciples of Christ among you? How are these disciples feeling called to use those gifts? What wonderful things has God already done in and through your congregation? How can discernment practices be shared with the congregation to nurture each individual’s faith?

There are a number of spiritual practices that leaders can engage in both individually and corporately to begin to more deeply connect with God’s presence to discern these things. A wonderful resource is the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That  Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun.

Congregational leaders are called to be spiritual leaders whose number one task is to have a deep relationship with God. This is the foundation of all leadership in the church. When we make it about managing things we make it about us, not about living as disciples of Christ who pay attention to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our midst.

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