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Minister: The Rev. Jon Hauerwas
~Everyone is welcome~
Survey for Parents of Children Under the Age of Ten
"When any organization decides it will seek to save its life by building walls against change, that organization is destined to lose its life, its vitality.”
-Lovett H. Weems, Jr
Leadership formation and change
When we think about the qualities that define a good leader, it is common for us to imagine a vocal visionary who is skilled at rallying others to support a shared cause. This kind of leader is confident and fearless. She is a gifted orator with a clear mastery of social networking and the unwavering determination to inspire change. In reality, though, such leadership is quite rare. What I have observed in ministry is that leaders are a truly a diverse bunch who exert their influence in a variety of ways. To put it simply, leadership takes many forms.
I was once meeting privately with one of our members and in the course of our conversation I said to him with all sincerity that I believe him to be one of the best leaders in our congregation. He looked a bit puzzled at first before saying, “I have never really viewed myself as a leader. I tend to think of myself as the kind of person who fills gaps, instead.” It was then that I added, “But, isn’t that exactly the kind of thing that a leader does?”
As Lovett H. Weems, Jr. notes in his book about church leadership, most of the skills of leadership can be learned, and most effective leadership involves a team. It is the team that is moving forward with passion, courage, and conviction. Some in the group will offer occasional bursts of wisdom and insight. Others will be more vocal. In the end, though, it is the group, rather than any individual, that is moving forward to influence change.
Without a doubt, there are some people who do not want religious organizations to change. But, as Weems notes, “The only way to preserve values over time is to be involved continuously in renewal and change, thus finding ever fresh expressions for those values. When any organization decides it will seek to save its life by building walls against change, that organization is destined to lose its life, its vitality.”
Harvard business professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter notes that “The task of leadership is change. Leaders inspire others to their best efforts in order to do better, to attain higher purposes. Leaders are not satisfied with the status quo. They are not satisfied with maintaining things as they are. They are idealists who believe that things can be better, utopians who dream of perfection. Leaders, therefore, must be change masters. They must understand how to create and guide innovation.”
On June 7, Saint James is hosting a church leadership Sunday. Information will be available from each of our committees in the Horizon Room and narthex. That day, we invite you to visit the displays, learn more about our existing ministries, and to consider your role in the ongoing renewal of our church family.
Peace and best wishes,
Our Sunday morning church service and sermon lessons are made available on the web for the home-bound as well as for those who are curious about the living teachings of Saint James Presbyterian Church.