Leadership and Discipleship

For years I have argued that there is a fundamental psychological and indeed spiritual difference between leading worship and preaching that often becomes blurred in the one-man-band (and its' usually a man) ministry practised in most western protestant churches...
If we use Kierkegaard's parable of worship as theatre, a worship leader should not, as is often be the case, the lead performer in the drama (a point which many would be rock-star contemporary worship leaders could do with learning), but are merely prompters to the main actors, the congregation, performing for an audience of one... God himself.
But something different is happening with preaching as historically understood... the orientation of the "drama" changes... the preacher becomes the mouthpiece of God... I'm not being arrogant here... the theory goes that by the power of the Holy Spirit, the reading of scripture and its exposition allows us to hear God's mind... Sometimes that may be clearer than others...
However, it throws up a difficult dilemma... How can you be diverting people's attention away from you one moment, encouraging them to look to and worship God, and then encourage them to listen to you as if God were speaking through you?
Often we make no pretence at trying, hence either the worship becomes focussed on everything that happens up front with "the professionals", the preacher and the choir or worship band; or we downplay the position of preaching and the reading of scripture and elevate the corporate worship.
My suggestion is that were possible we should have different people leading worship from preaching... it allows both of them to focus on the job in hand and doesn't confuse the congregation... That's the theory... how often do I do it in practice? Answer: not enough.

But in reading the Contemplative Pastor again, I am reminded of another pair of contrasting roles that we often conflate and confuse. Peterson writes:
"In running the church, I seize the initiative. I take charge. I take responsibility for motivation and recruitment, for showing the way, for getting things started. If I don't, things drift. I am aware of the tendency to apthy, the human susceptibility to indolence, and I use my leadership position to counter it. 
By contrast, the cure of souls is a cultivated awareness that God has already seized the initiative..."
"Leadership" is the Holy Grail of the contemporary western church... We are offered course after course showing us how we should lead, or "cultivate the gifts of leadership"... This is not just true in the church, but is endemic to western civilisation, its just that we've turned it into an art form, and indeed, many leadership consultants having honed their skill within the church sector, are now plying their trade and selling their programmes (carefully shorn of any Christian labels) in the secular world for substantial remuneration... 
Don't get me wrong... leadership is important, indeed, it is a gift of the Spirit according to Paul's letter to the Romans, but it is one to be exercised within a wide range of gifts in a body ministry... And leadership, at least in the way that contemporary western society understands it, may not be the primary gifting of ordained pastors... Indeed I would argue that the normative model of leadership in scripture is that of the shepherd (pastor) leading his sheep... a discipleship model set firmly in a pastoral context. Disciples making disciples... Sheep becoming shepherds to other sheep... 
Again, as with worship, it is not a case of either/or but both/and... different people working together, exercising their gifts... In worship and wider church life... In preaching and pastoral care...

Selah

Comments

Andrew Kenny said…
Indeed I would argue that the normative model of leadership in scripture is that of the shepherd (pastor) leading his sheep... a discipleship model set firmly in a pastoral context. Disciples making disciples... Sheep becoming shepherds to other sheep...
I totally agree David
Eshan said…
Great info!!! Leadership is less about your needs, and all the more about the needs of the individuals and the association you are heading.

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