Missional Leadership III

Posted: April 29, 2013 in Catholic Church, Church Growth, missional, Missions, Poland
Tags: , , , ,

Part 3 of reflections from a class on “Missional Leadership,” taught by Dr. Reggie McNeal at Columbia International University. In part one, I shared Dr. McNeal’s description of the “missional” church, and some thoughts in relating that to our Polish context. In parts 2 and 3, I am sharing a series of paradigm shifts that are necessary in order for us to think and behave missionally, with comments from our context.

The first two paradigm shifts, from part 2:

From internal to external

From program driven to people development

 

The final two paradigm shifts:

From institutional manager to movement leader.

Dr. McNeal did include a caveat that “institutional management” is still required in many cases – the deacons from Acts 6 are one example. But he suggested that even the most bureaucratic of leaders can move in the “apostolic” direction. In class, he described an apostolic – or movement – leader as one that: has a genuine vision; is Kingdom-centric (not church-centric); is entrepreneurial – a risk-taker; is genuinely spiritual; is a developer – releasing people; is a team player.

I think that this type of leader is an extension of the previous shift – from program driven to people development. When we stop focusing on programs, and begin focusing on people development, the institutional manager – or program manager – becomes less important than the person who can develop and release people. Simply by changing our focus, most of us can move in the direction of being a movement leader. Of course, out of the thousands of people who followed Jesus, and later became the church, only a handful were considered apostles, and only a handful were true movement leaders – but that’s ok. Today as well – I may do my best to foster a movement in Poland, but it will probably be someone else who becomes the catalyst. In the end, though, it’s the movement that counts – not my ministry, or the church or denomination I serve. Hence the kingdom-centric focus as opposed to a church-centric focus.

There are a handful of Polish leaders who nearly fit this description. They have a real vision, are entrepreneurial, and are genuinely spiritual. Denominationalism is still a big problem, and the kingdom-centric focus is not yet a reality. Many Polish evangelical leaders frequently struggle with developing and releasing leaders and with being a team player – as opposed to being a lone ranger. But I believe there are more such apostolic leaders today, especially younger leaders, than there were a generation or two ago. The description that we have above gives us a better picture of what areas still need development among leaders.

 

From church-centric to community-centric.

“Move from being an institutional rep and think more of yourself as a viral agent” (class notes from Reggie McNeal)

Of all the shifts Dr. McNeal mentioned, this one may be the most difficult to implement in Poland, at least among evangelical churches. Roman Catholic apostolic leaders – and there are a few – will have a much easier time implementing such a shift. The reason for this difficulty is based in the historic idea that “To be Polish is to be Catholic.” When converts leave the Roman Catholic Church to become Evangelical, their ties with family and friends are significantly weakened. Frequently, evangelical converts feel less “Polish”, and, as a result of being ostracized, even feel betrayed by their nation. Evangelicals have a hard time being “community-centric,” and frequently prefer to hunker down in their church bunker.

Of course, one response to this difficulty is to encourage believers to remain in their Roman Catholic network. But many growing Christians have a difficult time remaining in a church that they see as having betrayed a sacred trust of teaching truth. So they leave, feeling betrayed by the Church, and then betrayed by their loved ones who don’t understand their decision. The growth of postmodernism and pluralism is opening an opportunity to see this tension change, however. Traditionally Catholic Poles are becoming more accepting of differences, and all believers need to take their focus away from church brand and onto a community that desperately needs assistance and a Christ who can rescue it.

Missional Leadership I

Missional Leadership II

Comments
  1. […] Dr. McNeal was very clear in stating that leadership development, in movement, is not about helping people learn to do their church job better. To be honest, if we want movement, we need a different kind of leader than most church leaders tend to be. I need to be more intentional in focusing on all these areas in people development. I tend to focus most on micro-skills and spiritual formation, but I think the primary focus might need to be in the paradigm area – helping Polish people see the world differently, especially in the light of some of the shifts that Dr. McNeal mentioned earlier (my posts 2 and 3.) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s