Leadership is a journey that a group of people who share a common vision and values take together. I believe that shared ministry between lay and professional leadership is weaves the fabric of the congregation. I value collaboration, creativity, and sustainability. I am curious about learning congregational leadership histories and the many hands, hearts and minds which have co-created a congregation over the years of its life. As minister, my role is to listen, acknowledging the significance of the contributions leaders have made to shape the present. When appropriate, I have a role as catalyst: to ask questions that might inspire bold thinking and future-minded change.
Whether working with lay leaders on the board of trustees, a finance committee, the religious education committee, or the stewardship campaign, my primary role is to help us stay accountable to each other as well as to our vision and values. Key to accountability in leadership is the importance of staying in right relationship. Congregational conflicts in church leadership, petty or serious, are at best inescapable, at worst, destructive and toxic. Intentional processes around decision making and governance are crucial to create a leadership culture within our congregations that is transparent, grounded in our principles, with mutual respect and compassionate communication at its center. In leadership, it’s also crucial not to lose sight of our relationships outside of the congregation, considering our accountability to our neighbors and community partners.
Sustainability is another key value in my leadership. As those many hands, hearts and minds have co-created a congregation, leadership should be constantly regenerating through cycles that encourage sharing of knowledge and skills. New members should be aware of how they can become involved in the leadership of the congregation and invited into leadership. I believe a practice of gratitude is essential to lay leadership: as a part of the cycle of the year, the service of leaders should be celebrated. Leadership is a spiritual practice that involves cultivating periods of activity and commitment as well as restoration and care for self and family. Too many of our congregational leaders over extend themselves and find their spiritual needs unmet. I encourage leaders to take time for worship, Sunday morning and within their meeting times, engage actively in individual spiritual and self-care practices, and take breaks from leading when needed. I also encourage leaders to keep their minds open to new ways they may serve that could challenge, inspire or make a significant contribution to the congregation.
I am an experienced leader in creating structures and programs that help create effective leadership in congregations, particularly on the large church spectrum. I am familiar with policy-based governance and have an understanding of the transition and adaptation many congregations are making within their governance structures. Making changes in governance, as any change, requires time, patience and follow through implementing models which have proven results. I am also experienced at developing congregational opportunities for leadership through lay ministry programs such as Lay Pastoral Associates, Worship Associates and Small Group Ministry.
Leadership is about journeying together, about taking risks and trusting in one another. Leadership is taking a leap of faith to fulfill a vision larger than ourselves, a vision of a more just, peaceful, and loving world.