In May, NY Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani surveyed seventeen books written about the leadership of President Bush. Her article, which summarized what Bush's fans and critics have observed about his leadership style, caught the attention of Out of Ur blogger Andy Rowell. Andy is a teacher of church leadership at Taylor University and a former pastor. In part 2 of his post, he reminds us that some bureaucracy may actually be good, and he champions the value of transparency.
Lesson 3: Remember that some policies and procedures created generations before us actually make sense.
There is nothing more annoying than a policy that does not make sense to us. There certainly may be policies on the books at your church that no longer fulfill their original intended functions.
By all accounts, President Bush inherited a dysfunctional overly bureaucratic intelligence establishment. Sensing this, the Bush administration created a special office to look into the evidence for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. In doing so, they unintentionally avoided experts and procedures that would have noticed and corrected some of the weaknesses in the intelligence gathering methods and conclusions.
One of the hardest things for a pastor is getting permission to do things. Often times, we have to wait until the next committee meeting to get our initiative approved. At that meeting, the issue is discussed but there is a request for more information before a final decision can be made at next month's board meeting! Frequently, we're sorry we asked! Isn't it just better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission? But sometimes these cumbersome policies and procedures help protect us from our own blind spots.
Lesson 4: Be honest and transparent about what you are doing.
President Bush permitted wire-tapping without full public disclosure because his team believed getting permission wasn't fully necessary. But when it became public he was highly criticized for it. Apparently, even National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice does not always get consulted when things are happening. For example, she reportedly was not informed about the plans to house foreign prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
In pastoral ministry there are certainly times when levels of confidentiality and limited disclosure are called for. For example, some people will be working with a couple having difficulty in their marriage. Not everyone in the church needs to know what is going on. But in general, our desire to keep something we are doing secret is an indicator that something is wrong.
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