Making Church Chutney

Big tip of the hat and a deep bow of thanks and gratitude to Making Chutney for the post on Four and Only Four Rules for Doing Church.  The comments to the post are worth reading as well. These are suggested guidelines for the most essential things a congregation needs to “move forward and make the vision we have for the congregation happen.”

They are counter-church cultural. They seemed steeped in the principles of Appreciative Inquiry and they remind me of the leadership theories of Ronald Heifetz in Leadership Without Easy Answers. 

Heifetz argues that leadership is all about adaptive work, finding adaptive solutions to the new problems and solutions that confront us instead of doing what we’ve always done, but better, faster, stronger.  Heifetz also says that leader is not authority, but about getting the work done.  Authority comes from power granted in order to perform a service.  If the service is provided – getting the work done, solving the problem, the power is granted to continue the work (and in this case, churches, continuing to create community is part of the work).   Exercising power without performing a service is authoritarianism.  Too often church committees (“that’s the way we’ve always done it” , “we must have a meeting to decide things”, and ministers, both clerical and lay (committee chairs) act in an authoritarian manner and forget to provide the service for which a congregation or a committee has granted them power in the first place.

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