Culture is easily understood as “the way we do things around here”. Gaining an appreciation for this in any community that we lead, will often be a predictor of success. If you ignore or misunderstand how a community does things, and then act in a way that is contrary to this culture, conflict is an inevitable result.
The Board looked at each other with dismay as they realised they needed to recruit externally to replace the retiring CEO. After 10 years in the role the CEO had done an outstanding job in establishing and growing the ministry. However, the one gap he left was not raising up his own replacement to take the ministry into its next era.
In this week’s blog, Centre Director Tim Foster argues that we need to rediscover the value of allowing leaders to grow up slowly. Young leaders need less pressure and more room to prepare, learn from others and make mistakes. At the same time, in our youth obsessed culture, we need to be wary of devaluing more mature leaders.
Leaders need power to get stuff done. But the forms of power on which church leaders have relied are eroding. Leaders need to cultivate new bases of power. While referent power is attractive it is not easy to develop. However, another form of power is available that will take effort to cultivate, but is highly effective.
We all know (hopefully) the joy of being a part of a team and working hard together and seeing great things happen. The question for this article is whether we associate this simple and key idea with church teams, and in particular church staff teams (and Christian not for profits for that matter).
Leaders are usually trying to bring change to organisations to make them more effective in reaching their objectives. A good leader has a clear picture of the kind of future they want for the people they lead. They know the destination and realise that the group cannot remain the same if they are going to move to the new situation.
In recent decades the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania has embarked on a journey of revitalisation, moving from a 30% membership decline in the 1990s, ironically during its “Decade of Evangelism”, to renewal in the 21st century. The diocese has gone against the national trend in traditional denominations of continued decline and aging. Some parishes have seen significant growth from a low base, many have commenced a children’s or youth ministry or appointed a paid minister for the first time in decades, and the average age of clergy has decreased markedly. There’s a fair way to go, but the signs are promising.