Leadership or Preaching? What is more important in the CRC?
January 4, 2014
Updated January 7, 2014
6 comments 39 views
I have heard from quite a few people lately that our churches lack vision. We don't know where we are going and if we do know, we can't agree on how to get there. If you had to choose between a leader who could preach or a preacher who could lead, what would you choose? What does our denomination need?
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Why do you have to choose one or the other? I think both are important. The days of one person being able to do it all (the domine) are long gone.
Not clear on why dichomy with respect to vision rests solely with the preacher. Just because an individul is designated a leader does make them leadership material or a good "mensch" leader. If the vision is great but the leadership and/or preaching is wanting, the flock may have a shepherd but not necessarily a Good Shepherd.
Both are critical and preaching can and is the avenue which a great chunk of leadership vision is conveyed. It is not a dichotomy at all. But...interestingly enough here are some stats presented through the Strategic Planning process that went throughout North America this past fall.
This is taken from CRCNA Pastoral Excellence Survey
Source: 2012 Survey by Calvin College Center for Social Research
Here is how CRC Pastors describe themselves:
The 2011 Top 3 pastoral self- perceived skills: Listening and Encouraging, Communication, and Maintaining a non-anxious presence.
The bottom 3 self-perceived skills: Strategic Planning, Conflict Management and Motivating People to perform at their full potential.
We feel like we can preach (communicate) but we feel like we cannot do the work of Strategic Leadership nor motivate others to lead. However one might weigh which skill is more important (or to what degree) we need to do work in equipping ourselves to better leaders perhaps.
Preaching is itself a form of leadership.
There was a similar question asked of the Apostles in Acts 6.
"In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, 'It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.' "
This type of pastoral leadership might be seen as passive or even lazy from a modern pespective, but it actually binds the church together by creating trust between pastor, council and the congregation. "Prayer and the ministry of the word" still involves visiting, council meetings and necessary administrative tasks (afer all, the Apostles' decision was made at a council meeting). However, the text does seem to state the preeminent task of the pastor is bringing the Word.
Good question, John!
Ideally leadership and vision should come from the congregation/council as the pastors come and go. Too often, when vision and leadership is left to the pastor, (s) he implements appropriate changes but the congregation balks and pastor/congregation conflict results. When calling a new pastor the church needs to present it's mission/vision and make their calling decision based on which candidate is best skilled to lead in carrying it out. A myth about ministers is that most are basica Lily the same. Granted the functions of the pastor's position are the same (preaching, pastoral care, administration, leading, teaching, coinciding, and handling conflict) and we all receive simular training at CTS, our spiritual gifts are different making each candidate unique.
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