Recent excerpts we've posted from An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (Baker, 2007), edited by Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones, have generated a lot of discussion. This final installment should keep the trend going. Sally Morgenthaler writes about our cultural shift away from an autocratic CEO model of leadership toward a more reflexive and cooperative model, and why many churches have failed to get the memo.
Significance, influence, interaction, collective intelligence - all of these values describe an essential shift from passivity to reflexivity. We are no longer content to travel in lockstep fashion through life like faceless, isolated units performing our one little job on an assembly line. This attitudinal shift is nothing short of revolutionary. True to form, Western Christendom seems oblivious to its implications. But it is the entrepreneurial church (congregations of roughly one thousand and above) that seems particularly clueless about the shift from the passive to the reflexive. And this, despite all its posturing about cultural relevance.
This disconnect shouldn't really surprise us. Large-church leaders have been trained in the modern, command-and-control paradigm for thirty years. Here, organizations aren't seen so much as gatherings of people with a common purpose but as machines. There is no irony here. Machine parts don't have minds or muscles to flex. They don't contribute to a process or innovate improvements. Machine parts simply do their job, which is, of course, to keep the machine functioning.
The mechanical paradigm of organization largely explains why modern church leaders are trained as CEOs, not shepherds.
Sheep have their own ideas of what, where, and when they want to eat. They may not want to lie down by quiet ...