Missional Leadership, Part 7

If you do any general survey of Missional literature this word “organic” comes up everywhere. We see it in the language of cultivation. We see it in the discussion of the church as a people (over and against a building). We see it in the discussion of gardening and pruning. We see it even in the analogies of the Scriptures themselves, which is right. Paul refers to the church as a body and as sheep. This concept must play a part in the thinking and shaping of Missional leaders. If you lose sight of the organic nature of the church you will revert to programmatic church and pragmatism will rule the day.

            The process I have outlined here for moving a church to become a Missional community is simple enough to look at on paper. You develop a strong vision, then you communicate that vision clearly enough, attempting to create vision disciples. Next you lead the people by giving them an example of the vision in action, accompanied with the cultivation of an environment where that vision can be lived out by the people with freedom and individualism. These guidelines are helpful, but in the end if you follow them as some sort of how-to-manual that must produce the proper results you will have missed the major key component of the discussion: churches are organisms, and as organisms cannot be predicted to always act exactly as we plan. Real Missional leaders will adapt with their churches, live and breath with their people, and when results turn out differently than they expected they will reformulate and realign. Remember, the vision is rooted in your people, and while you can’t lose the overall mission and still be a church, you can always reformulate the vision to fit the changes in the congregation. And since organisms to do change, so you can expect to have to reevaluate and reform on a regular basis. To be a real Missional leader requires this kind of thinking.

            In many ways Missional leadership is both new and old. It is new in that it takes a fresh look at leadership in the church and throws out much of the tripe that has bombarded pastors and churches for the last several centuries. Yet, Missional leadership is in fact very old. It is the model that Jesus presents to us of how to create and lead disciples, and it is the model of the Apostle Paul and the early church. The church is not the mission, but it is the missionaries, and so just as Jesus was sent so He sends us. We don’t go to create institutions and organizations, but we go to be and, as pastors, to lead the church

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