Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Learning to Navigate the Seas of Change and Leadership

Is leadership about smooth seas or rough seas?
Perhaps it's about how you navigate all the seas!
Dr. Amy Butler (or "Pastor Amy") of the Riverside Church in New York City, NY, spent the past week at my alma mater Central Baptist Theological Seminary in the greater Kansas City area.  She is part of the adjunct faculty of Central's Doctor of Ministry program and will be the featured speaker on the Friday evening of the ABCUSA Mission Summit/Biennial later in June 2015 in Overland Park, KS. 

To learn more about Central's D.Min program, click http://www.cbts.edu/students/prospective-students/doctor-of-ministry/.

Amy Butler engaged D.Min students on issues of leadership.  Part of the coursework involved the students considering vulnerability as part of the leadership experience.  The class worked out a definition Amy later shared on her blog: 

A vulnerable leader is an accessible, compelling figure who dares to embrace the diverse reality of the human experience, casts a vision for the future with conviction, creates a shared community that adapts to dynamic situations, and courageously risks authenticity. 

Link to quote:  http://talkwiththepreacher.org/2015/02/09/the-vulnerable-leader/.   Another reflection on the class experience is also available:   http://talkwiththepreacher.org/2015/02/10/safeguards-for-the-vulnerable-leader/.

I must say that this definition is very winsome.  Persons who just bide time rarely know what to do when the Spirit's "wild goose" tendencies call the church to a new time and challenge.  (The "wild goose" image draws upon the ancient Celtic Christian image of the Holy Spirit).  Being able to handle "diverse realities" is helpful, navigating a world of difference, even when we may not be quite ready or hesitant to go places and embrace the "Otherness" of those around us.  Also, risk is part of leadership. 

After all, did not Blessed Kenneth of Rogers once opine, "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.  Know when to walk away.  Know when to run"?  But I digress....

Next week, Dr. Kelsey and I will be traveling to Duke Divinity School to participate in a four day training for ministers involved with denominational leadership.  The group will gather a variety of mainline and other Protestant denominational staff serving organizations involved with congregational vitality, the perplexities of ministry these days and the opportunities to find a rhythm of sorts in the midst of the phone calls, spread sheets, meetings, crisis calls and ongoing ways and means of a Region, Synod, Diocese, etc., etc.

To learn more about the program, visit:  http://leadership.divinity.duke.edu/what-we-offer/programs/denominational-leadership/

In preparation for the sessions next week, we were asked to read a variety of blog postings on the Duke Divinity School's "Faith and Leadership" blog, a treasure trove of reflections, interviews, and other ways of engaging creative leaders in sharing their learnings and gleanings as all of us struggle to find fresh and creative ways to meet the needs of Christ's church these days and into the future.

The blog is located at:  www.faithandleadership.com.

Some of the readings include:
http://www.faithandleadership.com/content/creating-learning-culture.  Former Divinity School Dean, L. Gregory Jones on the possibilities of churches and related organizations adapting the business community's concept of a "chief learning officer".

http://www.faithandleadership.com/pastor-seeks-revive-houstons-memory-art.   An article about a creative pastor in Houston combining the need for new forms of church community, deep healing needs in the midst of neighborhoods that may have been forgotten and forgot themselves.  Marlon Hall will be one of the guest speakers alongside Wes Granberg-Michaelson, a longtime Reformed Church denominational leader.

Participants will learn also from David L. Odum, Executive Director of the Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.  He offers thoughts and strategy on Transformational Leadership.  To learn more, http://www.faithandleadership.com/content/dave-odom-habits-are-key-transformative-leadership

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