Yesterday I led an Away-Day for the leaders of a village church near Cambridge. They asked me to take the theme 'Leadership'. I knew nothing about the church and when I learned it would last for six hours with only five leaders present I was rather daunted!
Obviously, we needed to start with their situation and issues so, after opening devotions, I used my preferred low tech tool - a flip chart - to note down responses. Unsurprisingly a couple of leaders spoke about how too much of their time is spent on tasks. Without wanting to be caught in activity, they found themselves almost completely task-oriented. Indeed they felt that the perception of them held by others in the church is that they are the people who do what's needed in order for the church to function. Other issues included the need to develop the prayer life and teamwork of the fellowship. I wondered how many leaders in other churches would list similar concerns!
To try and provide some meat I worked with them on a definition of Christian leadership that emerged piecemeal, giving time for reflection every couple of words or so. It's not something I had done before but it turned out to connect with some of the earlier issues in practical ways. It is not properly scrubbed up for public notice but it runs like this:
A Christian leader is a person with a distinctive gift mix who belongs within a sacred missionary community (set within contemporary culture) which is called by God to worship, to pray with discernment, and to collaborate contagiously in order to move people onto God's agenda.
I think this gives us plenty to work with!