Over the last year as I have led the Brighton team there have been many times when I have felt somewhat at sea. It is a new experience leading a church that has no form, structure or traditions. There are no rules to follow and no boundaries we can’t cross (in a sense).
At times people have suggested I ‘lead stronger’ as we have sometimes floundered around lacking clarity on issues. I could do that – its the kind of leadership that comes naturally to me, but at this point I believe it would be less helpful to the group.
The stronger I lead the less others feel the need to think and tussle with issues – thinking gets outsourced. And the longer term consequence of that is lack of ownership. At a foundational stage we must have very high owenrship of directional and DNA issues. I see my primary role as that of guarding and instilling the DNA into the group – of living and teaching the concepts we have all said a notional ‘yes’ to.
I was writing a prayer letter recently where I expressed it like this.
“There are two things I will not do:
1.I will not lead strongly and use my influence as power simply to sway the group in a direction they are unsure of and that suits me.
2. I will not let anyone else do that – I will not let anyone come in with an agenda and drive the group in their preferred direction especially if it is contrary to where we feel called to go.”
In those two things I am very strong and I will fight for them.
Does that make sense?…
So perhaps your question is how do we get anywhere at all?! The answer is slowly, but together. It is not a perfect system and I see some glitches that need ironing out. But for now we are laying foundations – doing the hard work of thinking together and bonding together and moving together.
I feel fairly sure that one day we will have a leadership team in whom will reside the DNA we have set as the core for our community and who will keep our mission and values clear to the rest of the group. But until that day comes… its steady as she goes!