Leardership for the Whole Church: Part 4 in the Series reflecting on Slow Church
This is Part 4 of our series looking at the concept of Slow Church and what we can learn from the ideas of Stanley Hauerwas. The links above will direct you to the first three posts in the series. This video is longer than the previous three. However, it’s worth watching the whole video.
Part 4 breaks away somewhat from the first 3 in that the post is more focused on leadership and leaders rather than on the whole body. Yet this video links well with the other three, precisely where Hauerwas talks about leadership as something that is best raised up through the community. Such leadership is in contrast to the leadership model touted by the book store best sellers.
The video starts off with Hauerwas stating that creative authority is all about persuasion. While he talks about it in the context of being a leader in a community such as a church or university, one question it raises, is how do churches express creative authority in the communities in which they are situated?
For many years, the church spoke from a position of assumed authority. Within a Christendom model this was considered acceptable and even expected. As that model has disintegrated, can the church learn to speak authoritatively again.
Many people would question whether the church should ever speak authoritatively, but I think if the church adopts the attitude in the broader community of helping the community to develop their gifts, the church will have something to offer to the whole community.
Hauerwas asks an interesting question: What kind of community do you need to be to choose your leaders by lot? The choosing of Matthias he is referring to can be found in Acts 1:12-26. How does such a question challenge our assumptions of what leadership and decision making in the Church should look like?
Hauerwas also talks about developing a discipline of the ego that will allow any institution that you are part of to continue once you have departed. I think this also fits in with the idea of being able to speak authoritatively in the broader community. Just as individual leaders need to learn the discipline of letting go of their egos, so do churches need to learn the same discipline.
One thing that comes out of this style of leadership, is that it rejects persuasion as a sales pitch. Persuasion under the model talked about in this video, and suggested by the previous videos is an activity that comes with long-term sharing of life and exchanging of ideas.
There is more in the video to consider regarding leadership. In particular the question of how do leaders hold on to power as a fragile thing? If you have any thoughts on any of this, please feel free to share them on the St. Philip’s Facebook page.