Leadership isn’t a new topic, especially within the Canadian conference. In fact, developing leaders is one of the conference’s six strategic goals and services. Four years ago, the conference commissioned a pastoral trends survey, and found that nearly 39 percent of participants indicated they would be leaving the conference – creating a leadership vacuum in many churches. The survey also indicated that a large group of pastors were facing burnout and disillusionment.
So, what’s the key to healthy, long-term leadership? Most readers will agree with the ideas presented by this month’s feature writers: our goal as Christians is to be servant leaders, first to Christ and then to others, possessing a spirit of humility, faithfulness, and collaboration.
This isn’t a particularly earth-shattering concept – it comes straight from the Bible. But do we really live out the ideals of servant leadership? Have we successfully avoided the snares of celebrity or power-play leadership? Or are we too easily influenced by church “stars”? Do we believe leadership is defined by credentials and accomplishments? Who do we call to be pastors, church planters, and leaders (we’re searching for several key ones right now, including an executive director) in our denomination – those who we perceive to have influence, charisma, and power, or someone with a true servant’s heart? Of course, the two qualities aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but they often are.
Unless we grasp the importance of servant leadership – the willingness to stoop and wash another’s person’s feet; the willingness to collaborate with and hear from the community at large; the willingness to change and be changed – we will continue to face a leadership crisis. That’s why we’re raising this issue again. May we all be impacted once again by Jesus’ example of what it means to be a servant leader.