Thursday, 1 October 2009
'This is the time of the follower' is a phrase which begins a chapter in "Followership' by Barbara Kellerman, I've just started reading. I've turned to it because I'm looking for some clues to help church leaders (there's a word when talking about followership) re-connect more of what they do with more of the outworking of the lives of disciples who are the church. So far it's proving to be helpful and challenging to the church systems we work in. Of course, if anyone knows anything about what it means to be a follower it must be Christians - right? Wrong! Obviously, I exaggerate, but so much 'leadership energy' is, in reality, more about re-arranging an organisation rather than cultivating an environment for the growth of disciples. I see it networks of churches too, which as Baptists, we still call Associations or Unions. I'm grateful our own executive are becoming bolder in willingness to see the translation of desires into realities. If we do see at least ten new churches come into being over the next few years, then monday's meeting will prove to be a significant milestone. No guarantees, but these days most families are 'planned'. Sometimes when I look at today's people carriers I wonder if they'd have been produced a few years earlier, whether Maggie and I might have planned more children! Financial constraints are a feature for many in their thinking and planning, but within the church these are the issues which are often writ so large to be, not only constraints, but the rationale for our being. So, the size of the Home Mission budget determines the amount of ministry we do, rather than vica-versa. Churches with a full-time Minister 'can't afford' XYZ, but then in a pastoral vacancy 'we can't afford XYZ because we need to do up the manse'. I have three great children - we could never have afforded them.