Because life is a series of edits

An Emphasis of Synthesis

In Church, Seminary on April 12, 2007 at 10:40 pm

Not sure where this week has gone, other than into the paper I had to write for my Developing Lay Leaders intensive weekend class I took two months ago. The paper was due on Monday, but I had to ask for an extension as the project demanded more attention than I probably should have given. Nevertheless, I turned the thing in on Wednesday and was pretty happy with it as it’s different from your typical seven-page seminary paper.

The assignment was to serve as a vehicle for future pastor-types to put down on paper their thoughts on how to develop people and their leadership within the church. Between my twelve years with The Navigators and the past year’s work as an intern at Memorial, I came up with a few things to say that I had never really written on before. Here’s an excerpt:

“The challenge of leadership goes beyond leaders just missing the ‘forest’ of the big picture for the ‘trees’ of the details (or vice versa); the real problem is missing both due to a lack of ‘synthesis emphasis’ in understanding, training, and practicing what biblical leadership is.

Leaders (and as a result, those they lead) often suffer from a disconnect between calling and design; between vision and mission; between the strategic and the tactical; and between follow-up and feedback. The result is inevitably frustration and fruitlessness for God’s Kingdom.

What is needed is not a new calling or vision (which are often the enemies of the existing calling and vision); nor do we need more mission(s) or giftedness to accomplish the work we already have to do. What is needed is a bias for developing leaders in the Church who can lead with an emphasis of synthesis in their leadership of others.”

Though taking longer than I anticipated (largely because of the graphic design I packaged it in for my purposes at Memorial), I enjoyed writing again on a topic I’ve had some practical experience in (pure theology papers are hit and miss for me in terms of pleasure). Of course, the big thing missing from the paper are all the stories that would serve to illustrate my points, but I guess I’ll save those for the book…or something.

In application of what I wrote (just in time), I’m off this weekend to teach Memorial’s fourth and final Adullam leader retreat of Cycle A. Have a good weekend.

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  1. thanks for the paper. it looks like it will be very helpful with some issues i am working on right now. as i was lying in bed, awake @ 5 AM, praying about some of these things, i tho’t,”i’ll bet some of this problem boils down to an issue of trust.” then i saw that trust is a pretty important part of practicing leadership. i’ll read the paper carefully and discuss it more with my pastor/spouse:) m

  2. I’ve been strugling for a long time with this very subject. Being in a leadership position, I’m still not convinced I should be one. I’m looking forward to reading your paper.

  3. now i’ve read the paper. it’s good. i’m working with a group of people of extremely reluctant leaders…at least in the church! they are all quite competent leaders in other arenas whether career or home. i’m wondering if a large part of the problem has to do with trust issues from past events in the church. since that is such a basic element to leadership–mutual trust of both the church leadership and the people one is leading (i think). is the best way to deal with that to work on reconciliation/understanding the gospel as a lifestyle b/f getting knee deep into doing a lot of “leadership” training? i’m not sure if i’m on the right track, but i know that is what i’m having to learn in new ways.

  4. Martha, as you’re probably aware, it’s never as clean as “work on one and then the other” with people. I think you do have to work on the reconcilliation/resolution issues first off, but you can’t take them out of real life to do so.

    It’s not that, as people, we don’t trust; the question is, what or who do we trust in? Most of us trust ourselves more than we trust God or others – this is often for reasons of self-protection from something (getting hurt, looking bad, etc.), but eventually we experience how exhausting that process can be (and how bad we really are at doing it).

    I would encourage you to pick up one of two books called The Ascent of a Leader or TrueFaced, both by Bill Thrall. Both in person as well as in his writing, Bill has had much to do with shaping my thoughts on this, and his books would be a good reference for you.

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