When one thinks of the Orthodox Church one thinks of many things, worship, theology, etc. the term leadership is not one that springs to mind right away. Oh sure we have our share and have had our share of leaders but what I am speaking of is leadership of the Church in the 21st century. Yesterday I wrote about Engaged Monasticism and how we need a different model of monasticism in 21st America, well we also need leaders of for the 21st Century.
During my seminary preparation there were no courses designed to teach leadership skills. I do not always buy into the saying that “leaders are born” I think leaders can be created and taught and mentored by other leaders. Flipping through the seminary catalogue today reveals only one leadership course, it’s called Parish Administration and it is a survey course taught once a week.
How do we lead churches with a diverse population? I have parishioners that span 4 generations from depression era, boomers, X, Y, millennials etc. they are all present in my parish. You do not lead all of those groups the same way. Good leaders inspire those they lead to do what needs to be done. Good leaders inspire those they lead to think outside the box. I have not always done this and it is something I hope to work on this year.
Good leaders are good readers and a good leader is also someone who is not afraid to change tact when needed. I grew up learning how to sail. When you sail you need to be conscious of the wind and change directions as the wind blows. Now I am not saying the church needs to change her theology or practice, no I am suggesting we need to change the way we present it.
Good leaders are good readers. I read a lot. I read a variety of things, some are from books and others are from blogs I have found useful on the web. There is a tremendous amount of information out there if you know where to look. Today I came across a list of “20 Blogs Every Church Leader Should be Reading” on the website Church Leaders. I was not surprised that on that list no Orthodox Leaders were present. I was surprised not to see the blog of Deacon Michael Hyatt but alas it was not there.
They are all Evangelical blogs written by pastors or other church leaders. No I know what you die hard Orthodox will say? What can we learn from them? I say to you get over yourself! If we were doing all we can do to lead our congregations we would be a force to be reckoned with. We “have found the true faith” we just don’t know how to tell people about it.
So what am I going to do? I have selected a few blogs from the list I quoted above and over the next year I will be posting links and excerpts from those blogs and putting into practice the lessons and letting you know how it has worked. I am not afraid to change what I am doing and I hope you are not as well. Let’s see if we can get an Orthodox Leadership Blog on that list next year.